Tuesday, March 3, 2015

“Extraordinary Leadership in Australia and New Zealand: The Five Practices that Create Great Workplaces” – Reviewer Professor M.S.Rao

“Jim, Barry and Michael have produced a truly enjoyable read in an Australasian context. Through a wealth of real-world examples and thorough research, they identify universal leadership practices that will be of value to all managers, from CEO to the front line, who want to take on new challenges or refresh their approach to achieve more.” —Josh Bayliss, CEO, Virgin Group (Worldwide)

What are the Details of the Book?

If you want to understand leadership from the perspective of Australia and New Zealand, read this book. If you want to acquire leadership behaviors, tools and techniques, read this book. If you want to grow as an extraordinary leader, read this book.  James Kouzes, Barry Posner and Michael Bunting’s authored book Extraordinary Leadership in Australia and New Zealand: The Five Practices that Create Great Workplaces is divided into seven chapters outlining the five practices that can help you achieve amazing outcomes.

What is Inside?

The book unveils the authors’ experience and research and their passion for leadership. They analyzed around the globe more than 5000 interviews and case studies and more than five million survey responses from all kinds of organizations, industries, functions, levels, occupations, ages and ethnicities. This book emerged from their global research. It outlines that when performing at their best, leaders: Model the Way; Inspire a Shared Vision; Challenge the Process; Enable Others to Act; and Encourage the Heart. It reveals strange research findings as follows: According to the Gallup research organization, a staggeringly low 13 per cent of employees worldwide are engaged. Worse, Gallup says, ‘over the past twelve years, these low numbers have barely budged, meaning that the vast majority of employees worldwide are failing to develop and contribute at work’.

Leadership Takeaways
  • Leadership can be learned. It’s an observable pattern of practices and behaviors and a definable set of skills and abilities.
  • You can move mountains if you’re prepared to involve people, and listen, and help them find a way.
  • It’s what you do with what you have before you die that makes the difference.
  • Being an exemplary leader means that you will have to clarify values by finding your voice and affirming shared values, and set the example by aligning actions with shared values.
  • Leaders report that the clearer they are about their leadership philosophy, the more committed and engaged they are in what they’re doing.
  • Articulating your values and beliefs clearly gives your team a framework for understanding what’s important. It guides them to make the right decisions. Just as the North Star guides sailors, your values keep you on course.
  • When you do what you think is right and give, it comes back to you. That’s what happens when leaders are clear about their values and are willing to live them.
  • When the lyrics and the melody of a song go together, you’ve got synchrony; for leaders, when the words and the deeds to together, you’ve got credibility. And credibility is the foundation of leadership. People will only willingly follow you when they believe in you. If people don’t believe in the messenger, they won’t believe the message.
  • People expect their leaders to be honest both with themselves and with others. Cynicism is bred when people feel that you are inconsistent-that is, you say one thing but you do another. You ask your team to do one thing, but you pay attention to something else entirely.
  • Where you stand depends upon where you sit. So you had better know where you are sitting (what your values are), so that you won’t end up standing (your actions) someplace else.
  • Doing this means you will have to envision the future by imagining exciting and ennobling possibilities, and enlist others in a common vision by appealing to shared aspirations.
  • Two of the most important things leaders can do to drive engagement are ‘communicate and reinforce with employees the organisation’s vision and values (and) ensure that day-to-day managerial behaviours, actions, and decisions are consistent with the core organizational values.
  • Leaders search for opportunities by seizing the initiative and looking outward for innovative ways to improve, and experiment and take risks by constantly generating small wins and learning from experience.
  • Leaders are not probability thinkers. They are possibility thinkers.
  • Exemplary leaders foster collaboration by building trust and facilitating relationships, and strengthen others by increasing self-determination and developing competence.
  • Trust is ultimately about opening yourself up to others making yourself vulnerable.
  • You can’t expect others to trust you if you are not wiling to trust them. If people feel trusted, informed and listened to, they are going to be far more productive in their jobs because they feel like there’s something good happening.
  • Praise and encouragement are the best gifts you can give anyone.
  • If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.
  • If you really want to make people feel valued and significant, you have to ‘make it relevant, make it in the moment and make it specific to what you’re recognizing or rewarding.
  • Exemplary leaders understand that great accomplishments are the result of team efforts, and that individuals are more engaged when they feel they are part of a team than when they feel they are all alone and no-one has their back.
  • If you want to boost employee engagement, you have to encourage the heart of the people you work with. People not sustain high levels of energy and productivity if they believe that nobody else cares about the hard work they are doing.
  • One of the fundamental reasons why people don’t take the initiative to lead is that too often they believe that leadership is for somebody else, not for them.
  • Leadership is local, but it’s also universal.
  • Highly engaged people become leaders. They do whatever is necessary to get the job done-they do what needs to be done through their sweat, imagination and sustained persistence without anyone needing to tell or cajole them to produce. In the highest performing organizations, everyone is a leader.
  • Leadership engages people and brings out the best in them. And engagement, in turn, drives higher levels of performance and more outstanding accomplishments. This virtuous cycle begins with you becoming a being the best leader you can possible be.
  • Clarify values by finding your voice and affirming shared values, and set the example of aligning actions with shared values.
  • Envision the future by imagining exciting and ennobling possibilities, and enlist others in a common vision by appealing to shared aspirations.
  • People will never follow you unless they know where you’re leading them and they’re inspired by that destination, that results, that future.
  • Leaders don’t sit around waiting for things to happen-they make things happen. They are constantly looking for ways of innovating and improving their processes and results. They are never content with the status quo. They despise mediocrity.
  • Foster collaboration by building trust and facilitating relations, and strengthen others by increasing self-determination and developing competence.
  • When people aren’t performing well, your job as a leader isn’t to criticize berate or blame them-it is to encourage, coach and uplift them.
  • Leadership is never easy. It’s easy to read about leadership. It’s easy to attend a leadership training program. It’s not easy to actually apply what you learn.
  • The Leadership Challenge is not intellectual; it’s far deeper and more personal.

The book concludes with a thought provoking story differentiating between deciding and doing as follows:
There’s a popular riddle about 12 frogs. It goes like this: if there are 12 frogs sitting on a log, at the edge of a pond and five of these 12 frogs decide to jump into the water, how many frogs remain on the log? What’s your answer? Seven? Zero? 12? Five?
The correct answer is 12. Twelve frogs remain on the log. Why? Because there is very big difference between deciding to do something and actually doing it.

The book calls for getting off the log and into the water to excel as a better leader.

What is the Recommendation?

The book outlines five practices of exemplary leadership with real world examples. It is a well researched book highlighting leadership behaviors with practical applications to lead from the front. It contains case studies and inspiring stories of successful companies and leaders. It helps ordinary leaders grow as extraordinary leaders. The leadership ideas and insights are well-punched hitting the bull’s eye.  Although the book is written from the perspective of Australia and New Zealand, the basic leadership principles and philosophies remain the same, and can be applied in other countries as well. Precisely, leadership is applicable for both local and global. It is a must read for leaders and CEOs to improve their leadership behavior and achieve leadership excellence and effectiveness.  This book is useful for leadership scholars and practitioners and leaders at levels including CEOs. You can gift this book to your friends to inspire them to grow as leaders. Enjoy reading this book!

“The exemplary leaders that are liberally featured in this book provide compelling evidence of the power of this framework as it has been applied to a wide range of organisations within Australia and New Zealand. This book should become a compulsory mainstay of the leadership libraries of both emerging and established leaders from all sectors of the economy.” —Professor Brad Jackson, Head of School of Government, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand

Extraordinary Leadership in Australia and New Zealand: The Five Practices that Create Great Workplaces by James Kouzes, Barry Posner and Michael Bunting (Wiley; 1 edition, February 16, 2015)

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Professor M.S.Rao, India
Founder of MSR Leadership Consultants India
Listed in Marquis Who's Who in the World in 2013
21 Success Sutras for Leaders: Top 10 Leadership Books of the Year (San Diego University) Amazon URL: http://www.amazon.com/21-Success-Sutras-Leaders-ebook/dp/B00AK98ELI

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