13 May 2022


Practices of Exemplary Leadership

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Academic level: Master’s

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The leadership model developed by Kouzes and Posner (2007) has come to be widely applied in practical scenarios than in theory, with its application spanning all walks of life beyond the organizational settings for which it is considered most relevant. There is a consensus among analysts that the five practices of exemplary leadership framework epitomizes the characteristics of transformational leadership, implying every individual aspect namely: Modelling the Way; Inspiring a Shared Vision; Challenging the Process; Enabling Others to Act; and Encouraging the Heart, is of critical importance. However, there is no system for ranking these practices in terms of importance. The leadership practices inventory, whose reliability has been tested widely only empirically measures these practices (Posner, 2016). Therefore, one can argue that leaders assign importance to these practices on situational basis. In my view, the five practices can be ranked as follows: 1). Challenging the process; 2). Inspiring a shared vision; 3). Modelling the way; 4). Enabling others to act; and 5). Encouraging the heart.

One can argue that challenging the process is the most critical element of effective leadership. The objective of any organization is to grow and effective leaders are those that are capable of going beyond the organizational comfort zones because they are willing to take risks in a bid to break the status quo (Kouzes & Posner, 2007). Leaders who are unafraid to challenge the process are crucial in instilling an innovative organizational culture and inspirational change agents. The least important practice in my view is encouraging the heart. Though this specific practice can have positive outcomes in organizational settings, its significance is lessened by the fact that it occurs last. Rewarding individuals for victories achieved can only take place after positive performance has been documented, a process that requires all other practices. Failure implies rewards towards encouraging the heart will be unavailable.

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My strongest area of practice is in enabling others to act. I prefer to view myself as a democratic leader, a style that is defined by the involvement of subordinates in decision making. Despite my authority as a leader on the final decision, this practice allows consideration of different perspectives to problems from contributions of other members, a process that increases the likelihood of picking the best solution. Also, by enabling other to act, a leader is able to delegate duties and responsibilities because democratic leadership encapsulates the aspects of trust, fairness, competence, honesty, courage, intelligence, and creativity, making it the most preferred leadership style (Bryman, 2013).

The practice that requires much improvement is the inspiration of a shared vision. Most leaders are not able to convince other members of the organization that their plans are critical to the future of the organization. In most circumstances, the challenge arises from lack of mutual interest in the need for change which may be an outcome of organizational culture that mistreats employees. Under the circumstances, corrective measures are need to ensure employees acknowledge organizational progress as their own making them accountable for all performance outcomes, hence willing to share their leaders vision.


Bryman, A. (Ed.). (2013).  Leadership and organizations . UK: Routledge.

Kouzes, J. M., & Posner, B. Z. (2007). The leadership challenge. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. In Audio-Tech Business Book Summaries (Eds.) (2008), 17(8), Section 2: Willowbrook, IL.

Posner, B. Z. (2016). Investigating the Reliability and Validity of the Leadership Practices Inventory®.  Administrative Sciences 6 (4), 17.

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