The Truth About Leadership

More than a decade ago, I took the first leadership role in my professional career. My manager told me at that time that I didn’t have the years of experience needed for that role but I had the skills needed to succeed if I would continue in the leadership path to build up the expertise.

Reading books on leadership is something I have continuously done through the past 10 years to get inspired and learn from other people’s experiences. However, I realized that I can’t learn everything about leadership from books and I must jump into the pool and practice the stories and ideas from books to make better decisions and build up my own experience.

I got the idea of writing posts about some of the leadership books which I have read and they have inspired me as a person and as a leader. In this post, I would to talk about one of my EMBA’s textbooks “The Truth About Leadership” by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner, authors of the highly regarded leadership classic The Leadership Challenge. The authors understand that while the context of leadership has changed dramatically through the years, “the content of leadership” has not changed much at all with time.  

In this book, the authors describe Leadership as a matter of technique, skill, practice, desire, and commitment. This book thoroughly explains 10 fundamental truths about leadership and helps leaders to do a fact check on their personal leadership expertise. They devote a chapter to each of these ten concepts:

Truth #1 You Make a Difference: This truth is about the importance of believing in our ability to make a difference prior to positioning ourselves to hear the call to lead.

Truth #2 Credibility Is the Foundation of Leadership: This truth is about the fact that people follow the leaders they believe in. Therefore, it is very important for leaders to do what they promise to do.

Truth #3 Values Drive Commitment: This truth is about the necessity of a good fit between what leaders value and the organization values.

Truth #4 Focusing on the Future Sets Leaders Apart: This truth is about forward-looking and its effect on inspiring and energizing the followers.

Truth #5 You Can’t Do It Alone: This truth is about describing leadership as a team sport and how important to engage and develop others.

Truth #6 Trust Rules: This truth is about the importance of being a trustworthy leader and building mutual trust by trusting others too.

Truth #7 Challenge Is the Crucible of Greatness: This truth is about the challenge of introducing a change because great achievements don’t happen without introducing changes.

Truth #8 You Either Lead by Example or You Don’t Lead at All: This truth is about the fact leaders must go first to get others to follow their lead.  

Truth #9 The Best Leaders Are the Best Learners: This truth is about continuous learning and improvement as the master skill of leadership.

Truth #10 Leadership Is an Affair of the Heart: This truth is about loving the role of a leader and loving the followers.

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