For the third part of this month-long series celebrating the release of my first leadership book (which will be available in bookstores and through online retailers), “Leadership Vertigo”, I’m delighted and honoured to welcome James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner, authors of the international best-seller and groundbreaking leadership book, “The Leadership Challenge”, to my blog. In this special guest piece, Jim and Barry discuss the 3rd leadership principle from the book, “Earn Credibility”, by sharing findings from several of their studies as to why credibility is so critical to our ability to effectively lead our employees and organization.
Jim and Barry, it is truly a pleasure and an honour to have you both sharing your research, knowledge, and insights with my readers. I’m grateful to you both for being so supportive and encouraging of my writings on leadership over these past couple of years. You inspire me to recognize that this book is just the beginning, and that there’s not only another book waiting for me to write, but that there’s more that I can share and give back to the leadership community to help leaders to “love ‘em and lead ‘em”.
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“I did not readily admit to my friends where I worked,” Lisa Kelley (not her real name) told us. “I just used to say, ‘A big company.’” The reason, she said, “predominantly had to do with the fact that I did not believe that our leaders were acting with the integrity and honesty that I hold so dear to my heart. I did not feel management set the kind of example that I wanted to abide by.”
Lisa’s sentiment is one that we hear time and time again. People want to believe in their leaders and in the organizations in which they work. When they don’t, they are unlikely to want to follow or do their best work.
For over thirty years we’ve been asking people to tell us what they look for and admire in a leader, someone whose direction they would willingly follow (the key word here is willingly.) The results of our studies over these three decades have been strikingly consistent around the world, and across categories of age, gender, ethnicity, functional discipline, and organizational level.
People are exceedingly clear about the qualities they expect leaders to demonstrate before they will enlist in a common cause and freely commit to action.
What are these crucial attributes? According to our research, people most want their leaders to be honest, forward-looking, competent, and inspiring. These four characteristics rank well above any others, and they are the only four that have been selected consistently by over sixty percent of respondents. Click here to continue reading »