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Extraordinary Leadership in Australia and New Zealand: The Five Practices that Create Great Workplaces by James M. Kouzes, Barry Z. Posner, Michael Bunting

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Chapter 2 Model the Way

IMAGINE YOU’RE SITTING in a meeting room with your colleagues and in walks someone you’ve never met before. That person stands in front of the group and says, ‘Hello. I’m your new leader’.

What’s the first question you immediately want to ask this person? Our guess is that it’s very similar to what most people tell us. In our research the most frequently asked question of a new leader is some variation of ‘Who are you?’

People want to know what makes you tick, what motivates you, why you want to be their leader, and the values that drive your actions and decisions. The first step on every leader’s journey is a step into their inner territory to discover who they are. That’s why we begin our conversation about The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership with Model the Way. It’s the practice that most clearly demonstrates your personal commitment to being an authentic leader. And it’s something we heard over and over again in the stories leaders told us about their personal-best leadership experiences. Being an exemplary leader means you will have to clarify values by finding your voice and affirming shared values, and set the example by aligning actions with shared values.

When you work with leaders who Model the Way effectively, you know what they stand for — and against. You know their standards and where they will not compromise. You know what values guide their decisions and actions. You trust that they will keep their promises and commitments. And ...

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