Published: July 21, 2022

Summer is in full swing and, hopefully, you’ll enjoy some well-earned time off to relax and recharge your batteries with a peaceful vacation or just some hours on the golf course. Whatever you have planned, don’t forget to take time to recharge your leadership battery.

The Leadership Challenge offers a great model to reinvigorate your leadership skills. Based on extensive research by Santa Clara University professors, Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner, The Leadership Challenge describes five core behaviors that people can use to become better leaders regardless of their management style or personality.

When government leaders exhibit these behaviors, organizational alignment and accountability grow, process improvement efforts thrive, employee engagement increases, and customer-focused services improve.

Employees everywhere are searching for inspired leadership that emphasizes a culture that respects all employees and provides them opportunities for meaningful work where they can share their ideas for improvement. That’s why we are sharing our series of articles from late 2021 with you again in hopes that you can use them to recharge your leadership batteries this summer.

Here are summaries and links to the articles covering each of the five behaviors. We’ve also included key quotes from Kouzes & Posner’s book to inspire your leadership recharge.

  1. Model the way: Leaders know that followers watch and duplicate their actions, not the words from speeches or motivational posters. This means that leaders must be clear and confident about their own personal values so their unconscious actions are consistent with their words. “Titles are granted, but it’s your behavior that wins you respect. Concentrating on producing small wins, leaders build confidence that even the biggest challenges can be met.”
  2. Inspire a shared visionLeaders dream of a different future and then ignite enthusiasm for their vision in others by tapping into their followers’ desire and motivation to contribute. “Leaders have a desire to make something happen. Leaders forge a unity of purpose by showing constituents how the dream is for the common good.”
  3. Challenge the process: Leaders are pioneers who are willing to step into the unknown and seek out personal challenges that go beyond their status quo. They often take risks based on the suggestions and feedback of peers, staff and customers. “As weather shapes mountains, problems shape leaders. They learn from their failures as well as their successes.”
  4. Enable others to actLeaders give away information, power and authority, which allows the team to achieve extraordinary results far beyond what the leader can achieve alone. “Those who are expected to produce the results must feel a sense of ownership. Leadership is a relationship, founded on trust and confidence.”
  5. Encourage the heartLeaders know that achieving great results takes a big commitment and long struggle, which can leave teams frustrated and exhausted. A leader recognizes individual efforts and team accomplishments to fuel excitement and motivate followers through barriers. “Genuine acts of caring can uplift the spirits and draw people forward. Encouragement can come from dramatic gestures or simple actions.”
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