Great Leadership Creates Great Workplaces

By: James Kouzes and Barry Posner


Great Leadership Creates Great Workplaces starts off by saying great leaders do their best work when faced with adversity, crisis setback and great difficulty. Furthermore, 75% of executives from around the world indicate that leadership (or lack thereof) is their greatest people issue. Data shows that great leaders can get more than three times the amount of talent, energy commitment and motivation compared to poor leaders.  The authors draw on over 30 years of research and data from more than two million constituents around the world. 

Leadership is not a skill that someone is born with. Rather, leadership is learned and can be improved over time through practice. The book dives into the five practices of exemplary leadership which details each topic and how these are demonstrated. The five leadership practices are: 

  • Model the Way
  • Inspire a Shared Vision
  • Challenge the Process
  • Enable Others to Act
  • Encourage the Heart

The book goes into details of what creates high Positive Work Attitudes (PWA) vs moderate PWA vs low PWA. Each of the five leadership practices contribute to a PWA but some are more important. Great leadership = Great Workplaces = Great Results. Their research shows how positive feelings about being part of the workplace strongly influence people's willingness to apply discretionary effort to their work. People put forth much more effort for their best leaders and very little for their worst leaders. 

The book concludes with the fable about 12 frogs. There is a big difference between deciding to do something and actually doing it.   

This book is a very quick read and provides solid leadership strategies with good examples. It expands the reach of The Leadership Challenge, their first book, address pressing, critical issues around employee engagement, and how leaders can improve it to outperform the competition. I would highly encourage anyone that is looking to improve their leadership abilities to read this book.