Soundview Executive Book Summaries


Is Your Leadership Credible?

“In the end, leaders don’t decide who leads. Followers do.” Jim Kouzes & Barry Posner

This statement is at the core of Kouzes & Posner’s new book Credibility, a complete revision of their 1993 best-seller The Leadership Challenge.

The authors continue, “The old organizational hierarchy just can’t generate the kind of commitment that’s required in our global society. This isn’t a call for open elections inside organizations. But managers should not kid themselves. People do vote—with their energy, with their dedication, with their loyalty, with their talent, with their actions. Don’t you put forth higher-quality effort when you believe that the people leading you are there to serve your needs and not just their own interests?”

Based on this premise, Kouzes and Posner developed a survey to collect a list of the top characteristics that a leader must have. From the 225 factors they defined, the authors produced a list of 20 traits followers admire and that will inspire them to follow.

The top three categories are:

1. Integrity (is truthful, is trustworthy, has character, has convictions)

2. Competence (is capable, is productive, is efficient)

3. Leadership (is inspiring, is decisive, provides direction)

And perhaps not surprisingly, the top characteristic by far was honesty with 85% of people putting it at the top in the 2010 survey, 88% in 2002 and 83% in 1987.

If you would like to learn more about the top characteristics of a good leader, join us on January 10th, when we’ll have Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner as our guests for our Soundview Live webinar Leading with Credibility. If you want to strengthen your leadership skills, this is the place to be next Tuesday at 12:00 noon. And since the registration is per site, you can fill the room with colleagues.

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