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Leadership Makes a Difference


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The quality of leadership you provide has a significant impact on the people you lead. After analyzing decades of research, Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner confirm this statement with some very compelling data. See how your leadership can positively—or negatively—make a difference.

Published in: Leadership & Management

Leadership Makes a Difference

  1. 1. James M. Kouzes & Barry Z. Posner Leadership Makes A Difference
  2. 2. After more than 30 years of extensive research, the evidence is conclusive: Leadership makes a difference.
  3. 3. Leadership matters to people’s commitment at work, their willingness to work hard and take initiative, the meaning they derive from their efforts, and their overall ability to perform beyond the ordinary.
  4. 4. Research clearly shows that exemplary leaders have a positive effect on these outcomes— as well as on other actions that enable people to make extraordinary things happen. Exemplary leaders bring out the best in individuals, teams, and organizations.
  5. 5. Studies have found that when leaders are at their best, they: Model the Way Clarify values and set the example Inspire a Shared Vision Envision the future and enlist others Challenge the Process Search for opportunities and experiment and take risks Enable Others to Act Foster collaboration and strengthen others Encourage the Heart Recognize contributions and celebrate the values and victories
  6. 6. 33% LEADER FOLLOWS THROUGH ON PROMISES AND COMMITMENTS HE / SHE MAKES %OFDIRECTREPORTSWHOAGREE THATMANAGEMENTISTRUSTED Leaders inspire trust. © James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner There is a close relationship between the frequency that leaders follow through on their promises or commitments and people’s trust in management. Trust drops precipitously as a leader’s follow-through declines. 20% 54% 74% Occasionally /Sometimes Seldom/ Once InAWhile FairlyOften /Usually VeryFrequently /AlmostAlways AlmostNever /Rarely 12%
  7. 7. The feeling of “making a difference” at work significantly increases as leaders more frequently show constituents that their long-term interests can be realized by enlisting in a common vision. Leaders help constituents see that what they are doing is bigger than they are and that their work has meaning and purpose. 90% 60% 6% 14% 30% %OFDIRECTREPORTSWHOAGREE THEYAREMAKINGADIFFERENCE LEADER SHOWS OTHERS THAT THEIR LONG-TERM INTERESTS CAN BE REALIZED BY ENLISTING IN A COMMON VISION © James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner Leaders help people feel that what they do is important. Occasionally /Sometimes Seldom/ Once InAWhile FairlyOften /Usually VeryFrequently /AlmostAlways AlmostNever /Rarely
  8. 8. Leaders encourage people to take initiative. 94% of direct reports are “willing to work hard” when leaders very frequently or almost always challenge them to try out new and innovative ways to do their work compared to only 5% of direct reports when leaders almost never or rarely challenge people. By responding to the challenge, people feel a greater sense of accomplishment and are more willing to act on opportunities to take initiative and stretch themselves.
  9. 9. Leaders make people proud. 78% 16% 1% 1% 4% %OFDIRECTREPORTSPROUDTOTELLOTHERS THEYWORKFORTHEIRORGANIZATION LEADER GIVES PEOPLE A GOOD DEAL OF FREEDOM AND CHOICE IN DECIDING HOW TO DO THEIR WORK Occasionally /Sometimes Seldom/ Once InAWhile FairlyOften /Usually VeryFrequently /AlmostAlways AlmostNever /Rarely © James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner Leaders, in providing direct reports with freedom and choice in deciding how to do their work, dramatically influence the pride people report about their organization.
  10. 10. Leaders create a spirit of community. People feel more connected when their leaders provide a lot of appreciation and support for contributions. In fact, nearly 90% of people feel a strong sense of team spirit when their leaders very frequently or almost always engage in this behavior. Conversely, less than a third of people feel a sense of team spirit under leaders who almost never or rarely engage in this behavior.
  11. 11. Our research confirms that leadership makes a difference. That difference can be negative or it can be positive. Which difference do you want to make through your leadership? Discover more in the new edition of The Leadership Challenge.
  12. 12. JIM KOUZES and BARRY POSNER have authored more than a dozen award-winning leadership books, including the bestselling book The Leadership Challenge. They have been working together for more than 35 years studying leaders, researching leadership, conducting leadership development seminars, and serving as leaders themselves in various capacities. Jim and Barry are on the faculty of the Leavey School of Business at Santa Clara University (in the heart of Silicon Valley).