The Five Practices of Leadership

Leaders aren’t mommy or daddy.

Successful leaders encourage everyone to think and act like competent people of influence.

tail fin

When leaders act like mommy, team members act like children.

Family-style leadership, depending on it’s expression, is awesome. But, when family-style leadership means depending on mommy to solve our problems, power shifts upward and dependency increases.

Act more like the weird uncle who lets kids steer the car when no one is looking.

Who’s their daddy? You aren’t!

The five practices of leadership:

People of influence knowingly engage in the five practices of leadership described in, “The Leadership Challenge.”

  1. Model the way.
  2. Inspire shared vision.
  3. Challenge the process.
  4. Enable others to act.
  5. Encourage the heart.

#1. Model the way:

  1. Know your values.
  2. Affirm the values of others.
  3. Model the way by aligning actions with shared values.

Join in and get your hands dirty. Don’t be willing to help; actually help.

#2. Inspire shared vision:

“You can’t command commitment; you have to inspire it. You have to enlist others in a common vision by appealing to shared aspirations.” James Kouzes and Barry Posner

#3. Challenge the process:

Every step toward remarkable requires courage to challenge the status quo.

  1. Invite the outside in.
  2. Design and celebrate small wins.
  3. Adapt as you go.

#4. Enable others to act:

Fear solidifies mediocrity.

  1. Give power. Seizing control disempowers.
  2. Choose the best way, not your way. Their imperfect idea is more empowering than imposing your “perfect” idea.
  3. Build trusting relationships.
  4. Develop capacity in others.

#5. Encourage the heart:

Work that goes unnoticed feels like it doesn’t matter.

  1. Reward progress.
  2. Honor effort, even if results fall short.
  3. Show people where they fit in and what their contribution means.

The purpose of encouragement is bold action, anything less is coddling.

Which of the five practices are most important to you right now?

How can you encourage others to think and act like competent people of influence?

*This post is inspired by, “The Leadership Challenge,” by James Kouzes and Barry Posner. I highly recommend their work.