On The Truth About Leadership

I recently finished reading The Truth About Leadership – The No-Fads, Heart-of-the-Matter Facts You Need to Know by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner. This book was recommended to me by my mentor. As the title indicates this is a book about leadership. The authors distill their research and learnings in this area into ten truth “about leadership and becoming an effective leader”.

One of the main premises in the book is: “We tell our audiences that as much as the context of leadership has changes, the content of leadership has not changed much at all. The fundamental behaviors, actions, and practices of leaders have remained essentially the same since we first began researching and writing about leadership over three decades ago. Much has changed, but there’s a whole lot more that’s stayed the same.”

The authors then go on to introduce the ten truths:

1- You make a difference

2- Credibility is the foundation of leadership

3- Values drive commitment

4- Focusing on the future sets leaders apart

5- You can’t do it alone

6- Trust the rules

7- Challenge is the crucible for greatness

8- You either lead by example or you don’t lead at all

9- The best leaders are the best learners

10- Leadership is an affair of the heart

What sets this book apart is the amount of research set forth to bring forward these conclusions in a concise and direct manner. The truths are further supported by stories to further exemplify the behaviors and attributes of leadership. A must read in the area of leadership and remember: “Leadership can be learned”!

Below are some excerpts from the book that I found particularly insightful:

1- “Leadership is not about who you are or where you come from. It’s about what you do.”

2- “The five practices of exemplary leadership…1- Model the way 2- Inspire a shared vision 3- Challenge the process 4- Enable others to act 5- Encourage the Heart.”

3- “Before they are going to voluntarily heed your advice, take your direction, accept your guidance, trust your judgement, agree to your recommendations, buy your products, support your ideas, and implement your strategies, people expect that you will measure up to these criteria.”

4- “The capacity to imagine and articulate exciting future possibilities is the defining competence of leaders. Leaders are custodians of the future. They are concerned about tomorrow’s world and those who will inherit it.”

5- “Here are four actions to keep in mind (trust): Behave predictably and consistently…Communicate clearly…Treat promises seriously…Be forthright and candid.”

6- “This means that you need to find a goal that can sustain your interest and the interest of those around you, for some considerable time. To be the most successful, you and your constituents must have a passion for a purpose and the perseverance to hang with it for the long term. This focus gives meaning to sticking through the hard times and to dealing with the often-inevitable disappointments and setbacks that accompany any significant significant accomplishment.”

7- “Leadership can be learned. It is an observable pattern of practices and behaviors, and a definable set of skills and abilities. Skills can be learned, and when we track the progress of people who participate in leadership development programs, we observe that they improve over time. They learn to be better leaders as long as they engage in activities that help them learn how.”


Omar Halabieh

The Truth About Leadership

The Truth About Leadership




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