Discussion: Self-Development

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The practices and commitments difficult to develop and apply

It is irrefutable that though the modern world has changed in almost every aspect, the content of leadership has not changed much. Effective leadership is primarily based on 5 practices and 10 commitments that help anyone to become a great leader through practicing real leadership skills. Unfortunately, some practices and commitments are hard to develop. Leadership is a challenging task that involves mobilizing others to try and get extraordinary things done at the organizational level. Kouzes and Posner (2013) pointed out that to accomplish that anticipated leadership results leaders must apply practices that can transform values into actions, vision into realities, risks into rewards and obstacles into innovations. Moreover, the style of leadership employed must create a climate in which people can turn challenging opportunities into remarkable success.

One of the difficult practices to develop and apply in leadership is the “challenge the process practice”. The commitment required for the development of this practice, as noted by Kouzes and Posner (2013), include the search for opportunities through seizing initiatives as well as through looking at the broader organizational picture for innovative ways to improve. Challenging the process also requires experimentation and risk-taking through learning from experience and generating small wins (Whitehurst, 2015). This practice together with its constituent commitments may be challenging to develop since not all opportunities are viable. Moreover, the practice calls for risk-taking which may lead to potentially devastating outcomes.

Challenging the process may be met by a high level of resistance from those who are used to conventional organizational practices. Understandably, one cannot just wake up one day and start criticizing other people for using a process that appears archaic and inefficient. The fact that one may have a better understanding of how certain operations can be improved does not transform them into organizational saviors in the eyes of other employees (Whitehurst, 2015). To succeed in challenging the process it is advisable to exercise caution in confronting and challenging systems, processes and behavioral norms. Additionally, the process that is being challenged must be understood better to convince others to accept the proposed change.

Enabling others to act is the other practice that will be challenging to develop and apply. This practice calls for collaboration with other team members in addition to building trust and facilitating relationships (Kouzes & Posner, 2016). This practice is challenging since some team members may oppose potentially beneficial ideas. Resistance from team members can nevertheless be overcome through developing competence and self-determination to strengthen others.

The practice of inspiring a shared vision may also be hard to develop let alone apply since it requires others to be enlisted in a common vision through appealing shared aspirations. The challenge of inspiring shared vision emanates from the fact that certain visions may generate chaos, confusion, uncertainty, and fear amongst team members (Whitehurst, 2015). Resistance to the vision may emanate from people who fear planning anything especially if the future seems uncertain.

The practices and commitments with a powerful impact on an organization

Organizational leaders must embrace practices and commitments that have potentially powerful and positive impacts on organizations. The “Model the Way”, for instance, is one of the practices which have powerful organizational impacts. Leaders with the capacity to model the way exhibit two distinct behaviors: they set an example and clarify their values. The actions of these leaders align with their personal values as well as with organizational values. The aspect of showing the way builds trust and enhances the interaction between leaders and employees (Kouzes & Posner, 2016).

Enabling others to act also has a potentially powerful organizational impact. This practice involves giving individuals an equal opportunity to take part in decision making and other vital organizational activities (Kouzes & Posner, 2015). Whitehurst (2015) argued that, when team members are actively engaged, they develop a sense of ownership to the organization and commit all their energy to the organization. Resistance to novel ideas in the organization decreases significantly when workers are actively engaged. Moreover, this practice creates a base for improved collaboration which is essential for facilitating relationships and building trust at individual and organizational levels. Organizational leaders must be committed to strengthening others through increasing self-determination in addition to developing competence.

The commitment by organizational leaders to recognize and appropriately reward the contributions of individual employees for excellence can have positive impacts on the organizations. Kouzes and Posner (2015) asserted that employees demonstrate a positive response to appreciation expressed through acknowledgment of good work as it affirms the value placed by others on their work. Satisfaction and productivity subsequently rise when employees are valued and their work recognized (Kouzes & Posner, 2016). Moreover, employees get the motivation necessary to maintain and improve their good work. This commitment is related to the “Encourage the Heart Practice” which has far-reaching consequences that are deeply entrenched in the spirit of community.


Kouzes, J.M., & Posner, B.Z. (2012). The Leadership Challenge: How to Make Extraordinary Things Happen in Organizations. Hoboken: Wiley.

Kouzes, J.M., & Posner, B.Z. (2013). The 5 Practices and 10 Commitments of Exemplary Leaders. Retrieved from http://www.orcities.org/Portals/17/conference/2013/handouts/saturday/pm/leadership-5practicesand10commitmentsofexemplaryleaders-handout.pdf

Kouzes, J.M., & Posner, B.Z. (2016). Learning leadership: The five fundamentals of becoming an exemplary leader. San Francisco, California: The Leadership Challenge

Whitehurst, J. (2015). The Open Organization: Igniting Passion and Performance. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Publishing.

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