The leadership challenge by James Kouzes and Barry Posner describe how leaders can influence others to make extraordinary things within organizations by using fives principles. The five principles refer to the Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership; they are model the way, inspired a shared vision, challenge the process, enable others to act and encourages the heart. The book encourage the readers to take the leadership challenge and move from ordinary to extraordinary by following the fives practices. The practices involve behaviours that can serve as the foundation for learning to lead; the Authors called it the ten commitments of leadership. Over the years of doing research and surveying companies to investigate the expectations that constituents have of leaders, the authors found out that most of the people are willing to follow a credible leader who must be honest, forward-looking, competent and inspiring.
Another topic of the book is clarifying values, which is one of the commitments leaders should make in order to model the way. Values influence our actions and responses to the people around, and for the organizations, we work in. For instance, if a leader value family then he will appreciate the work-life balance. Therefore, if the job requires extended work hours and traveling he will feel pressure and anxiety. Moreover, knowing your own values is not enough but it is also the values of others you work with and the shared values. The book is easy to read, provides evidence of real- life experiences of effective leaders, and it proves the fact that leadership can be taught.
HBR’s is a Must Read on Leadership is a series of articles on various aspects of leadership. Such as, the article of John P. Kotter What Leaders Really Do, the article present the significant of both roles can play within an organization. A person wants to develop leadership skills should be aware of management skills. The author compares between management and leadership, for instance, management is about coping with complexity, and leadership is about coping with change. An interesting part of the article states that those who are effective in large leadership roles often share a number of career experiences, which I agree with because a person having different experiences that include new positions and responsibilities can develop leadership skills. Another point I strongly believe that leaders always got the opportunities to lead, take the risk and learn from their failures during their twenties and thirties.
The Leader’s Companion is a collection of essays by well-known authors like Gandhi and Machiavelli and other modern authors. One part of the book talks about the beginnings of leadership, which found in prophets, kings who served as models for their people in the Greek and Latin classics. Therefore, the leadership studies were familiar since the beginning of civilizations and the theories of leadership traits and behaviors of leaders towards their admirers, exemplified during the 20th century and 21st century. Another point resonated with me, for Hegel’s Philosophy of Mind, which is about understanding followers, is an essential requirement for effective leadership. I personally agree that leaders should have the skills to understand their team members. For example, a leader with listening skills will be willing to understand the needs, solve problems, build strong relationships, and encourage creativity. In the Leadership and Democracy, Thomas E. Cronin is emphasizing the importance of Liberal arts colleges, which help in finding better ways for individuals to work with the government. Liberal art in higher education assists students to learn about democratic leadership through improving their capacities to observe, reflect and judge. The author claims that making democracy depends on the quality of leaders and on the quality of produced citizens in the country. Another fact, the author asserts is that people always seek the perfect politicians that do not really exist, because of the diversity, finding the ideal politician will be difficult. To conclude, this book has thoughtful essays about leadership and reflect current facts about leaders.