The Leadership Challenge workshop

by 03 Feb 2009

Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner, are authors of bestselling book The Leadership Challenge. Libby Garratty reviews the inaugural Leadership Challenge public workshop

The Leadership Challenge Workshop was developed by Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner, authors of bestselling book The Leadership Challenge, which is based on 25 years of research and data from more than 3 million everyday leaders. Their research began with a project in which they asked leaders what they did when they were at their “personal best” in leading others. Through this research they distilled five practices common to the person al best leadership stories, all of which are learnable behaviours.

WorkSmart Australia, a specialist in lead ership development, is the first company in Australia to be accredited and licensed to run The Leadership Challenge and the inaugural public workshop was held on 26 and 27 November 2008 in Sydney. The aim of the workshop was to enable each of the partici pants to learn how to Model the Way, Inspire a Shared Vision, Challenge the Process, Enable Others to Act and Encourage the Heart. It was interactive and challenging, with time for self-reflection on current practices and putting together ideas and actions on how we could live each of the practices.

The first day started with participant shar ing in groups their “personal best leadership experience” that we were asked to prepare and bring with us. As Kouzes and Posner did, through discussing these we were able to identify key themes common to all the experi ences which ensured the exceptional results people had produced. Those key themes could all be related back to the 5 practices. The activity allowed each of us to start the process of learning to look at our own experi ences. The two days was then spent looking at each of the practices in detail.

Prior to attending the course, each partici pant was required to complete the Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI) 360- degree instrument. This allowed each partici pant to see the extent to which they are cur rently demonstrating each of the 5 practices and how they rank with 250,000 leaders around the world who have completed the LPI. The results for each of the practices were examined in detail, as they were covered over the two days.

The course was facilitated by the Director of Worksmart Australia, Michael Bunting, whose extensive knowledge in the area of leadership was apparent throughout. The course can be quite challenging in parts and Michael created a safe and supportive envi ronment in which to share and learn.

At the end of the course, each participant was ask to choose the one leadership prac tice they most wanted to improve and put together some specific goals and actions. Participants were encouraged to share their goals with another and agree to follow up at 30 and the 90 days after the workshop to check each other’s progress.

The learning doesn’t end at the conclusion of the two days. Participants receive a weekly e-mail for 12 weeks following the workshop. These are designed to keep leadership front of mind and to provide some practical tips on each of the Leadership Practices.

The Leadership Challenge workshop was highly engaging, well structured, practical and inspirational and is suitable for all levels of leaders.

Libby Garratty is a training & development specialist with LexisNexis