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The Leadership Training Activity Book

The Leadership Training Activity Book

Product Summery


As you pick up this book for the first time, I’m sure you’re wondering how this book can help those who grapple with perhaps the most elu-sive type of training—leadership training?

Lois Hart founded the Women’s Leadership Institute nearly six years ago. She began working regularly with Charlotte Waisman, a long-time friend and professional colleague, and soon came to appreciate Charlotte’s talents as a coach, trainer, and mentor. Lois suggested that they write this book together because she believed that our collaborative efforts and diverse professional experiences will help other trainers.

We first needed to decide what leadership topics we would include.Long before the book you are now reading was ever in our consciousness,we as professionals were constantly searching for the best thinking on leadership theory. We continuously review what researchers and authors describe about leader competencies, skills, and attitudes; we read the major leadership books and theorists, and we discuss the goods  and bads of each approach. As you will see in this book, we fully agree on one common approach.

We believe that Leadership itself is a critical competency, and we believe it can be taught. We suggest that leadership is a huge subject encompassing discrete actions and activities that can themselves be identified as competencies. It is hard to imagine a successful leader not having a very demonstrable capability and capacity for risk and risk-taking. So,Risk became one of the 50 topics!
After countless hours of study and discussion, we concluded that Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner have done the best research on leadership, which they describe in their book, The Leadership Challenge. Their  original research for the Leadership Practices Inventory was with 120 MBA students (average age 29; 60% male). The current version of the book was based on surveys of 1,567 U.S. executives participating in  public and private sector management-development seminars (12% of the participants were female). A separate survey collected information from managers in Australia, England, Germany, and the Netherlands.

Kouzes and Posner compared responses from 73 senior human resource management professionals (49 men and 24 women) attending the same conference. The women did not differ measurably in their  responses from the men, with one exception: their self-reports on “Encouraging the Heart” showed higher ratings.

The researchers found no significant differences between a group of 137 federal government executives and a group of 197 private-sector executives; no significant differences between a group of 95 Australian  managers and a group of 70 American midlevel managers; and no significant differences between a group of 170 European managers (English, German, and Dutch) and a group of 270 American managers.

Kouzes and Posner are continuing to systematically research the subject, conducting personal interviews and case studies with over 1,000 managers, as well as empirical investigations involving more than 45,000  participants. For more detailed information on their research, you can access their psychometric report and summaries of 150 doctoral dissertations on their Web site at
When Lois authored 50 Activities for Developing Leaders (HRD Press) in 1994, she recognized Kouzes and Posner’s enormous contribution to the body of knowledge that forms the basis of the study of  Leadership. Many other theories have been published since that time, but we have chosen to continue to build on Kouzes and Posner’s work. We use their book The Leadership Challenge (now in its third edition)  as the basis for the Women’s Leadership Institute, a yearlong leadership development program now in its fifth year of implementation. A discussion of the topics that Kouzes and Posner pose is central to the work  we do in our eleven full-day workshops. Having drawn on it for more than eight years, it was natural, as we thought about this book, to once again try to organize our thinking around their ideas.
We encourage you to read their work and see how our leadership activities play out as a demonstration of their model. Kouzes and Posner divide leadership competency into “five characteristics” of exemplary  leadership—each covering behaviors that demonstrate personal leadership. “Inspire a Shared Vision” is one of these five “practices” and we are not surprised. Kouzes and Posner’s work itself is so inspiring, we  will direct your attention to it again and again as you read ours. We are honored to build from their base.

Field marketing reports clearly show that the teaching of Leadership is a continued, high-value endeavor. Trainers, teachers, and consultants, internal and external,are looking for current and updated sources of  materials and curricula that are timely,interesting, and engaging to adult learners in business settings. The activities must be based on principles of adult learning and principles of accelerated learning, and must translate into value-added ways for the learner to produce business results. The bettercheaper-faster competitiveness of American business is still driving learning! The activities in our book are flexible and  can be used in a variety of situations. We encourage you to select and modify our work so you can achieve any number of different outcomes that suit your particular circumstances.
At the first planning meeting for this book, Lois told Charlotte that she believes co-authoring is a dynamic way to write—that the process of bouncing ideas off one another is truly beneficial. Lois thoroughly enjoys  sharing the creative process, and likes the challenge of being challenged. (Kouzes and Posner call the second tenet of Leadership “Challenge the Process.”)
The ideas and activities in this book will help you and your colleagues. The ideas within it have been tested in many Leadership training situations. Each activity has been thoroughly test-driven and honed for its  essential message. The first Kouzes-Pos-ner tenet is “Model the Way,” and many, many colleagues have generously shared their ideas with us. Their experiences have enriched this work, and we appreciate their  contributions.

Finally, we thank Bob Carkhuff, our publisher. Thanks also to everyone at AMACOM Books and at Chernow Editorial Services, Inc. Also, if you adapt our materials to reflect your own special expertise, write us, call  us, or e-mail us to share what you have done. We promise to pass it on! (The fourth Kouzes-Posner tenet is “Enable Others to Act.”) Enjoy our work; we truly enjoyed the process of bringing it to fruition.