LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT: 5 Practices of Exemplary Leadership

Kouzes’ 5 Practices of Exemplary Leadership

James Kouzes’ leadership model has been rigorously researched and tested for its effectiveness. He finds that leaders who exhibit certain skills perform better. Let us have a look at leadership development and the 5 practices of exemplary leadership.

LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT: 5 Practices of Exemplary Leadership
LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT: 5 Practices of Exemplary Leadership
Model the Way

Effective leaders must first know what their personal values are and communicate these values to the group. Their behaviour needs to exemplify how they want their employees to act.

If the leader has communicated these values and his or her own behaviour is consistent with those values, it is then easier to confront employees whose behaviour is not consistent.

Inspire a Shared Vision

A leader will create a compelling vision for the future of their organisation, something that gives people meaning to their work. They will involve people in the process of creating the vision so it is a shared goal and describe it so that others can visualise the results.

Generate enthusiasm about the goal and use this to energise and motivate your employees.
Challenge the Process

Innovation and change are essential parts of leadership. Leaders need to:

  • constantly be on the lookout for new ideas and ways to improve.
  • examine internal processes and the standard operating procedures and ask, “why do we do this?”
  • personally visit all parts of their organisation and closely observe the way things are done to look for new ideas.
  • look outside their organisation for new ideas and they need to ask questions and seek out advice.
Enable Others to Act

Leaders cannot achieve their vision without the help of members of their organisation. If leaders empower their employees by sharing necessary information, including them in the decision-making process and allowing employees to make decisions, their staff will increase their commitment to the shared goals.

If failures and mistakes are treated as learning experiences, and if the leader is motivated by meeting the needs of staff rather than his or her own needs, this builds trust and gives staff the confidence they need to take the initiative.

Encourage the Heart

It is important for employees to feel valued, both for their abilities and their contributions. When leaders express appreciation for their staff, the appreciation must be authentic and sincere.

Encouraging the heart involves addressing the human needs of employees by creating a sense of community and making work fun.

Impact on Employees

Perhaps most importantly, Kouzes suggests that if employees believe leaders follow through on their promises and commitments, the employees are much more likely to trust the leader.

Leaders versus Managers

One word that has been missing from this article so far is the word ‘Manager’. Is a leader always a manager? Let us examine the differences. A leader may be a manager but doesn’t have to be. A leader always inspires others while some managers don’t inspire anyone. Someone who is a leader often has innovation at heart. However, very often, managers will focus on rational decision-making and control. Natural leaders may not be concerned with preserving existing structures, the way many managers are. Often, leaders operate autonomously and don’t necessarily slot into a chain of command. Managers may be more concerned with interpersonal issues while leaders may be less so.