How Jim Kouzes has changed?

I recently asked bestselling author and leadership expert, Jim Kouzes some questions. Here’s part of that exchange. I’m reviewing, “The Truth about Leadership,” by Kouzes and Posner, next Thursday, October 21 and giving away 5 copies of their new book.


Leadership Freak (LF): How have you personally changed as a result of your leadership research?

Jim Kouzes: For one thing, I’ve become—or at least I hope I’ve become—much more self-aware. The more I’ve listened to, observed, and read about exemplary leaders, the better I’ve come to understand my own strengths and weaknesses, and some of the ways in which I can improve. I’m very fortunate to have been able to collect thousands of examples of what to do, and what not to do, and I have a much richer repertoire of behaviors to use than before I started doing this work.

I’ve also become more tolerant and forgiving. Leaders are human beings, full of flaws and idiosyncrasies. There is not one leader I have interviewed or studied who’s gotten a perfect ten on all our practices. I doubt they exist. If they did, it’d only be temporary; because once they try new things they make mistakes. I greatly appreciate how difficult it is to sustain exemplary leadership.

I’ve also learned to say thank you more often and to never take trust for granted.



Jim’s last statement most grips my mind and heart. Leadership-influence expresses a trust relationship between leader and follower. Trust not only honors its recipients it also creates profound responsibility. The gift of followership is precious, never to be taken for granted, violated, or abused. In a way, followers make leaders.


I’m enriched by Jim sharing how he has changed.

Which of Jim’s personal change-points do you most connect with?


How has your own research or experience changed you as a leader?

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Don’t miss Jim Kouzes’ comment from yesterday’s post, Most Frequent Leadership Advice – Look toward the bottom of the comments.