Learning Leadership 2017_04 The Five Fundamentals

Learning Leadership – The Five Fundamentals


                                    By James Kouzes, Barry Posner

Steve Brody, Houston Master Chair has noted in bold suggested questions from the authors to turn these ideas into practical exercises & coaching conversations. My thoughts will look like this..;

The Five Fundamental Areas include:

  1. Believe you can
  2. Aspire to excel
  3. Challenge yourself
  4. Engage support
  5. Practice deliberately

– Are Leaders born or made?   Leadership can be learned

– You have to aspire to excel

High IQs don’t characterize great performers. What differentiates is the dedication to do something every day to improve. Best leaders become the best…..they work at it. It is skill or a will issue with you and/or your direct reports. ARE YOU as the leader focusing your time on what only you can do or should be doing?

– Sugg – start a leadership journal to regularly use

What are 3 aspects of your leadership to improve? Further strengthening or something that is not a strong suit.


   What difference do I want to make? Are my actions making the differences?

   Do my actions help bring out the best in me…..others? What to do differently?

– Leadership is not about personality…..it’s about behavior

– Best leaders are the best learners…..must have a growth mindset…..continuous learning

– Sugg – add to journal

   What did you dream about? How build sense of enthusiasm, excitement for endeavor?

   How did you involve others in the planning…..decision making?

   How did you foster cooperation, build trust….enhance competency of team?

   What are values you hold…others accountable to? How do you lead by example?

   How did you recognize contributions…celebrate accomplishments…..create team?


– Are you pushing yourself to learn something new re: leadership every day? Are you stretching

Beyond your comfort zone?

– Sugg – What did I learn in the last 24 hrs to improve my leadership?

   Create a personal lifeline to identify some of the key patterns in your life.

   What drives you down….pulls you up?

   Create a diagram…draw line across middle page…on left is past…on right is present

   Top half write peaks….bottom half write valleys

   Add key items, elements in proper places  

– Exemplary leaders and their constituents are in service of a larger purpose…beyond the self

Suppose you had to be away for extended absence …what are the principles your team needs

To know….what would guide their decisions, actions? How to treat each other…deal conflicts


– Skill set that majority of leaders need to be more capable….is inspiring a shared vision

Leaders need to have an ideal or unique image of the future

You are no longer an individual contributor….you take people on journeys to new places

You are expected to be comfortable with uncertainty, champion experimentation, learn from


– Sugg – Leaders must influence what future will be? Looks like?

 What would your world look like in 5 yrs, 10 yrs, or 20 yrs? What aspirations for your future?

What I can do to help create? Influence direction of the people? Forward looking.

Try to sketch or write down your image of the future….draw a model.  

– Importance of Emotional Intelligence – you need to know what others want & need

Do you understand their hopes, dreams, needs, interests? People want to follow a meaningful

Purpose, not simply do work in exchange for cash

– Sugg – create a list of your frequent contacts 

For each, ask….What are their values? What are their standards?

What are the future hopes, aspirations? What higher order purpose gives life meaning?


– Challenge to be your best….step outside your comfort zone…new experiences, test self

Challenge is the crucible for greatness ….how fast can you learn? From mistakes, etc?

– Sugg – Have a curiosity conversation with someone you admire

 i.e. I have always been curious about how you ended up as …..would you spend 20 min

to explain what it took?   What challenges did you face? What key turning points?

When did you suffer a severe setback or disappointment….make some notes on

Reflect re how have you reframed the experience? What helped to bounce forward?

– Top performers all seek support, advice, counsel from others. Asking for feedback is key.

– Sugg – Who do you go to or can you seek support?   A Peer Advisory Group?


Who do you observe? Leaders you admire.  

How about creating a personal Board of Advisors? Who would you pick?

Ask each day….did I do my best to remain positive about my abilities today?

Did I focus on future possibilities today? Did I challenge and stretch myself?

Did I learn from other people today? Did I practice a new leadership skill?


John C. Maxwell key leadership questions when working with your team.

  •  How can I serve you?
  • What would make your job easier or more successful?
  • What did we learn?
  • Did we add value?
  • How can we maximize this experience?
  • How do we make the most of this opportunity?

Published by edstillman

I grew up in Carlsbad, north San Diego County, lost my dad as a teenager, went into the USAF for four years and hired on with 3M in 1969. Received my AA from Santa Barbara City College, BA and Masters from Redlands University and after 33 plus years, I retired from 3M in 2002. As I look back on my life, I have been creating myself and developing my skill sets to be a business coach and a Vistage Chair. I am president of SEOT, a "personal improvement" consulting firm spending most of my time working with Central Texas executives running small to medium size for-profit companies who are focusing on improving their profitability greater than their competition. My area of interest is assisting senior executives in creating a better balance between business commitments and personal relationships. I also facilatate three leadership labs each consisting of a dozen owners, presidents and CEOs. We meet monthly both in a group setting as well as in a 1-to-1 coaching session. Our focus is to sharpen each others' skills in becoming better leaders, making better decisions and taking ourselves and companies to that next level. Who are we? My members are experienced top executives who recognize that they don’t have all the answers and who actively seek the company of successful peers—both to give and receive insights and ideas. My members mine the 200 plus years of chief executive experience that comes together in our monthly meetings and members are eager to offer their own experience and insights in the process. As a group, we spend our time exploring topics members can't discuss anywhere else. My members have many other places where they can engage in idle, "cocktail party" chatter. Our mission is to provide the setting for discussing the "undiscussable." Where or who can you go to for confidential, honest feedback to assist you in minimizing your personal "Worry List"?

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