The Leadership Challenge is about how leaders mobilize others to want to make extraordinary things happen in organizations. It’s about the practices leaders use to transform values into actions, visions into realities, obstacles into innovations, separateness into solidarity, and risks into rewards. It’s about leadership that creates the climate in which people turn challenging opportunities into remarkable successes.

The publication of this edition of The Leadership Challenge marks twenty-five years since the book was first released. We’ve spent more than three decades together researching, consulting, teaching, and writing about what leaders do and how everyone can learn to be a better leader. We’re honored by the reception we’ve received in the professional and business marketplace. Although we and other authors regularly contribute new works, we are blessed that students, educators, and practitioners continue to find that The Leadership Challenge is still useful to them, both conceptually and practically, and that it stands the test of time.

We persist in asking today the same basic question we asked in 1982 when we started our journey into understanding exemplary leadership: What did you do when you were at your personal best as a leader? We’ve talked to men and women, young and old, represent- ing just about every type of organization there is, at all levels, in all functions, from many different places around the world. Their stories, and the behaviors and actions they’ve described, have resulted

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in the creation of The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership® framework described in this book. When leaders do their best, they Model the Way, Inspire a Shared Vision, Challenge the Process, Enable Others to Act, and Encourage the Heart.

The Leadership Challenge is evidence based. The Five Practices are derived from research and we illustrate them with examples from real people doing real things. With each edition of the book, we update the research—both our own findings and those from other scholars around the globe. And we continue to update the stories, cases, and examples of exactly what people do when they are at their best as leaders.

With each new edition, we become clearer ourselves about what really makes a difference. We get the chance to reiterate what’s still important, to discard what’s not, and to add what’s new. We get the chance to contemporize the framework and freshen up the language and point of view so that the book is highly relevant to current circumstances and conditions. We get the chance to let go of tan- gents—those important but smaller points that can be distracting or make things more complicated than they need to be. We get the chance to be more prescriptive about the best practices of leaders. The more we research and the more we write about leadership, the more confident we become that leadership is within the grasp of everyone and that the opportunities for leadership are boundless and boundaryless.

Of course, with each edition, we also get to address a new audi- ence, and sometimes even a new generation of emerging leaders. That opportunity motivates us to collect new cases, examine new research findings, and talk with people we haven’t heard from. It encourages us to perform a litmus test of relevance on our results: Does this model of leadership make sense? If we started out all over again, would we find new leadership practices? Would we eliminate

empirical data provided by the online version of the Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI). This inventory, which assesses The Five Practices, provides 500,000 to 750,000 responses annually and keeps us on guard and on target in identifying the behaviors that make a difference—and the ones that don’t seem to matter.

And, with each new edition, we get a chance to speak again with those of you who have read earlier editions of The Leadership Chal- lenge in school or in the workplace. If you’re reading this book for the first time, welcome. If you are returning to it again, welcome back. Join us in reading this new edition so that you can learn about and be reminded of The Five Practices and what they look like in action today. Learn more about how you can continue to grow and to develop yourself as leader.

We expect that all of you face vexing issues that not only make leadership more urgent but also require you to be more conscious and conscientious about being a leader. Others are looking to you to help them figure out what they should be doing and how they can develop themselves to be leaders. You don’t just owe it to yourself to become the best leader you can possibly be. You’re even more responsible to others. You may not know it, but they’re expecting you to do your best.

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