The Leadership Challenge®


Leadership is everyone’s business

While some believe that “being a leader” is reserved only for those charismatic personalities in the corner office, at Integris we believe otherwise. Leadership is actually an observable set of skills and abilities that are accessible to any person, at any level, in any organization. With this in mind, the term “leader” can be used to describe anyone with the ability to influence the work of others, regardless of role or title.

For over 25 years, Kouzes and Posner have collected thousands of leadership stories from people at all levels of organizational life – from CEOs to front line supervisors. Despite differences in title, age, gender, race, and other variables, these stories revealed that the process of leading follows a very consistent set of behaviors. Kouzes and Posner – broadly recognized as two of the world’s most influential leadership experts – categorized these behaviors into five easy-to-grasp practices.

The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership®

The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership® is a clear, evidence-based path to achieving the extraordinary used by over 3,000,000 people and organizations around the globe. It turns the abstract concept of leadership into understandable Practices that can be learned by anyone – from Supervisors to Managers to Directors – willing to step up and accept the challenge to lead. Ongoing studies consistently confirm that The Five Practices are positively correlated with both the effectiveness of leaders, and the level of commitment, engagement, and satisfaction of those that follow.

Model the Way

Leaders establish principles concerning the way people should be treated and the way goals should be pursued. They create standards of excellence and then set an example for others to follow. They unravel bureaucracy when it impedes action; they put up signposts when people are unsure of where to go or how to get there; and they create opportunities for victory.

Inspire a Shared Vision

Leaders passionately believe that they can make a difference. They envision the future, creating an ideal and unique image of what the organization can become. Through their magnetism and quiet persuasion, leaders enlist others in their dreams. They breathe life into their visions and get people to see exciting possibilities for the future.

Challenge the Process

Leaders search for opportunities to change the status quo. They look for innovative ways to improve the organization. In doing so, they experiment and take risks. And because leaders know that risk taking involves mistakes and failures, they accept the inevitable disappointments as learning opportunities.

Enable Others to Act

Leaders foster collaboration and build spirited teams. They actively involve others. Leaders understand that mutual respect is what sustains extraordinary efforts; they strive to create an atmosphere of trust and human dignity. They strengthen others, making each person feel capable and powerful.

Encourage the Heart

Accomplishing extraordinary things in organizations is hard work. To keep hope and determination alive, leaders recognize contributions that individuals make. In every winning team, the members need to share in the rewards of their efforts, so leaders celebrate accomplishments. They make people feel like heroes.

Measuring the Behaviors of Effective Leadership

Because The Leadership Challenge (aka “TLC”) is built around observable behaviors, it should be no surprise that TLC includes a highly credible measurement instrument. The Leadership Practices Inventory® (LPI® 360) is one of the most widely used leadership assessment instruments in the world.

With the LPI 360, leaders rate themselves on the frequency with which they believe they engage in the behaviors associated with each of The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership®. A group of “observers” (direct reports, managers, peers, etc.) also complete the survey, indicating the frequency with which they experience the leader engaging in the same behaviors. Combined, these different perspectives provide valuable insight into how the participant views him/herself, how others view him/her, and what actions can be taken to improve the individual’s ability to lead.

Importantly, the LPI 360 is not a “yes she does that” or “no she does not” survey. The research shows that most leaders practice these behaviors at least some of the time. In fact, the findings are very clear that frequency of behavior is what differentiates the most effective leaders from their less effective counterparts. The data undeniably shows that when leaders more frequently exhibit these behaviors, customer-focused results improve, organizational alignment increases, process improvement efforts thrive and employee engagement rises.

Do you want to help your leaders – all of your leaders, at every level – perform to their full potential? Then act now to build a common language about the practices of exemplary leadership.

The Leadership Challenge is a trademark of John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Integris Performance Advisors is an independent Authorized Partner for John Wiley & Sons, Inc.