These Guys Are Awesome!

I feel a little ‘gen y’ saying this (indifferent to
pre-existing hierarchies and credentials
: Jim Kouzes (JK) and Barry Posner (BP)
are totally awesome. Some of you know that my background is delivering newspapers,
working at restaurants, a meat packing company… I never heard of Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner until several
weeks ago (unless one of my college professors mentioned them and it just didn’t

Who are these guys and what makes them awesome? Read their bios here and check out these cool truths about leadership:

Update: Wait a minute – maybe leadership is not that important after all? Check out the leadership fallacy post.

Leadership can be
(Finally, there’s hope for the rest of us.)

JK: “As technologically advanced as our world is, there
still persists an insidious myth that leadership is reserved for only a lucky
few who genetically inherit the trait.
We are confronted with it nearly every time we give a speech or conduct
a workshop when someone asks, “Are leaders born or made?” Let’s get something
straight. Leadership is not preordained. It is not a gene, and it is not a
trait.” (from an interview with Dan Schwabel on

JK: “The truth is that the best leaders are the best learners.”
(from an interview with Marshall Goldsmith on

Get real (Yes, it’s okay to want people to like you!)

BP: “Indeed, we don’t need to read mountains of studies on
emotional intelligence to understand this truth: We will work harder and more
effectively for people we like. And we will like them in direct proportion to
how they make us feel.

Still, not a week goes by that we don’t hear someone in an executive role say
something to this effect: “I don’t care if people like me. I just want
them to respect me.” Get real!”

(from the post “Utter
” by Barry Posner on

Do what you say you will do (Crud, that means EVERY time, doesn’t it?)

JK: “The truth is that credibility is the foundation of
leadership. This is the inescapable conclusion we’ve come to after thirty years
of asking people around the world what they look for and admire in a leader,
someone whose direction they would willingly follow. […] People are just more
likely to stick with you when they know they are dealing with a credible person
and a credible institution. In business, and in life, if people don’t believe
in you, they won’t stand by you.” (from the interview with Marshall Goldsmith on

JK & BP: “The #1 quality people
most look for in a leader is honesty. This has been true, globally, in our
research for 30 years.” (via twitter by @KouzesPosner)

Some advice for Gen Y leaders – From today’s twitter chat #leadertruth:

Question: What is the greatest
challenge for generation y leaders? How can young leaders become better –
what’s a good way to start?

@Jim_Kouzes: The most difficult
leadership skill for Gen Y leaders to master is Inspiring a Shared Vision.

@Jim_Kouzes: To improve Inspire a Shared Vision start by asking: What is the legacy I want to leave? A tough question, but think about it!

@Jim_Kouzes: Credibility is earned over
time. Be patient!

@Jim_Kouzes: We trust people more whom we know, so young leaders need to get to know their constituents-their hopes, dreams, values…

@Jim_Kouzes: And, young leaders need to invite others to get to know them.

One of my former bosses would say, “There’s lots of meat and potatoes here.” I agree. Thanks,
JK and BP for spreading awesomeness!

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