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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 5 Enable Others to Act

YOU CAN’T DO IT ALONE. This is one of the most important leadership lessons we’ve learned in our research over the past three decades. As much as we talk about what leaders themselves need to do, exemplary leaders know that they can’t make anything extraordinary happen without the engagement, commitment and hard work of others. Leadership is not something that you do all by yourself; you do it in conjunction with other people. Personal-best leadership experiences are, in fact, not all that personal. They are interpersonal. In the words of one leader we studied, ‘It’s not so much about me as it is about us’. Exemplary leaders Enable Others to Act. They foster collaboration by building trust and facilitating relationships, and strengthen others by increasing self-determination and developing competence.

The paradox is that exemplary leaders transform their followers into leaders. Indeed, this explains why many people are so loyal to their leaders: because they believe them to have the best interests of others in mind rather than what’s in it for them. People won’t give their all — won’t struggle to get something extraordinary accomplished — without feeling that those in charge care about them and want them to grow and become increasingly capable and confident, taking an ownership perspective on the value they are creating and ultimately exercising leadership themselves.

How important is it to Enable Others to Act? People’s evaluations of their leaders’ ...

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