The Truth about Leadership


The “Truth about Leadership,” by James Kouzes & Barry Posner, is no fly by night, shoot from the hip leadership book based on personal opinion or fad. It contains ten universal leadership principles based on 30 years of research and more than one million responses to Kouzes and Posner’s leadership assessment.

Don’t get me wrong. The Truth about Leadership doesn’t read like a research book. In reality, I found it encouraging. Some leadership books show you how to be a better leader. Kouzes and Posner made me want to be better leader.

The ten leadership truths are:

#1. You make a difference

#2. Credibility is the Foundation of Leadership

#3. Values drive commitment

#4. Focusing on the future sets leaders apart

#5. You can’t do it alone

#6. Trust rules

#7. Challenge is the crucible for greatness

#8. You either lead by example or you don’t lead at all

#9. The best leaders are the best learners

#10. Leadership is an affair of the heart

My favorite leadership truth

I’m frequently asked, “What advice do you have for young leaders?” Because of, “The Truth about Leadership,” I tell them, “Believe you matter.” Kouzes and Posner put it this way, “Everything you will ever do as a leader is based on one audacious assumption. It’s the assumption that you matter.”

Give yourself permission to make a positive difference. The ultimate leadership question is, “What difference will you make?”

Over all

Although, “The Truth about Leadership,” is rooted in research, it’s not stiff. It’s an easy read filled with stories and illustrations. In addition, subheadings and highlighted text carry the reader from page to page.

Kouzes and Posner’s research indicates the ten fundamental truths about leadership universally apply across cultures, contexts, and generations. Master them and you’ll master leadership.

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What fundamental truth about leadership most applies to your current situation?

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Jim left a comment for Leadership Freak readers at “How Jim Kouzes has Changed.”