Credibility: How Leaders Gain and Lose It, Why People Demand It

Credibility: How Leaders Gain and Lose It, Why People Demand It

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by James M. Kouzes, Barry Z. Posner

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The first true revision of the classic book from the bestselling author of The Leadership Challenge

As the world falls deeper into economic downturns and warfare, the question of credibility (how leaders gain and lose it) is more important than ever. Building on their research from The Leadership Challenge, James Kouzes and Barry Posner explore in

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The first true revision of the classic book from the bestselling author of The Leadership Challenge

As the world falls deeper into economic downturns and warfare, the question of credibility (how leaders gain and lose it) is more important than ever. Building on their research from The Leadership Challenge, James Kouzes and Barry Posner explore in Credibility why leadership is above all a relationship, with credibility as the cornerstone, and why leaders must "Say what you mean and mean what you say." This first full revision of the book since its initial publication in 1993 features new case studies from around the world, fully updated data and research, and a streamlined format. Written by the premier leadership experts working today, Credibility:

  • Reveals the six key disciplines that strengthen a leader's capacity for developing and sustaining credibility.
  • Provides rich examples of real managers in action
  • Includes updates to the applications and research

This personal, inspiring, and genuine guide helps you understand the fundamental importance of credibility for building personal and organizational success.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Behavioral savants Kouzes and Posner ( The Leadership Challenge ) here provide philosophical and practical guidance for business executives at a time when computers, consultants, coproduction and ever-growing employee empowerment leave less for managers to do. Unsurprisingly, the authors place honesty, competence and a talent to inspire (``a set of values that can be learned'') at the core of effective leadership. From a penetrating survey of business methods and employee attitudes worldwide, Kouzes and Posner pinpoint future trends--e.g., more authority for customer contact personnel--in a logical, integrated and symbiotic organizational plan to replace a now-outdated omnipotent-boss system. Unfortunately, a hucksterish title and an introductory essay on ``credibility'' do a disservice to this broad and serious work's potential readership. 50,000 first printing; Executive Program book club selection; author tour. (Sept.)
David Rouse
Kouzes and Posner, authors of "The Leadership Challenge: How to Get Extraordinary Things Done in Organizations" (1987), focus here on a usually neglected but highly crucial aspect of organizational leadership and management. Regardless of whether one practices TQM, utilizes MBO, or simply exerts traditional centralized authority, no management or leadership style will work unless employees (or, as Kouzes and Posner would have it, "constituents") trust and believe their bosses. And if they do, almost any style can work. The authors investigated the relationship between leaders and their constituents by surveying 15,000 persons and analyzing 400 case studies, and they identify six characteristics of credible leaders. Successful leaders are self-confident, appreciative, affirmative, empowering, purposeful, and encouraging. The credibility factor has long been acknowledged as important for political success, but it is a vital element for business also. Highly recommended for management collections.
Publishers Weekly
This timely new edition of Kouzes and Posner's 1993 text incorporates research that reflects the increasing importance of credibility for effective leadership. The authors offer strategies to enhance credibility by reaffirming values and not promising results that can't be delivered, arguing that credibility and loyalty are inextricably linked. In their view, a leader lacking credibility suffers from diminished productivity and a lack of loyalty, creating constituents indifferent to outcomes and low morale. While Kouzes and Posner (The Leadership Challenge) offer useful advice for would-be leaders, as well as for a general business audience, they tend to repeat themselves and present an idealized view of the workplace. They offer very little advice about how to approach superiors who may not appreciate forthrightness, and in fact, the book's best advice is for leaders who already have the power to shape corporate culture. That said, the book is easy to follow and offers actionable advice, even if readers grow frustrated with its rose-tinted glasses.
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From the Publisher
"With the hundreds of look-alike, sound-alike, self-help books available on how to succeed in just about any field, it is a pleasure to read a book that contains something new and useful. In Credibility, not only have the authors captured the essence of leadership, they also alert us to the hazards surrounding leaders, would-be leaders and followers in all walks of life, including the health field.'' (Canadian Hospital Association)

"Credibility' may well move quickly into the lexicon as the next leadership buzzword.''

"Kouzes and Posner have found a way to communicate the importance of hope and offer practical ways of keeping it alive.'' (from the foreword by Tom Peters)

"A much needed human approach to leadership, finally focusing on issues that really matterhonesty, sensitivity to diversity, and the need for community.'' (Ken Blanchard, chairman, Blanchard Training and Development, Inc. and coauthor, The One Minute Manager)

"A well-crafted work. Kouzes and Posner see beyond today's survey results to challenge their assertions with the test of time and circumstance. This solid book persuades readers that credibility is fundamental in spite ofor perhaps because ofthe instability and cynicism that characterize many American work places.''

Kirkus Reviews

The landmark meditation on true leadership, updated and streamlined for a troubled 21st-century world.

Few things could be as imperative right now or more elusive than effective leadership. Kouzes and Posner (The Truth About Leadership: The No-Fads, Heart-of-the-Matter Facts You Need To Know, 2010, etc.) update the 1993 edition of their essential guide to maintaining control and credibility in positions of power. Their well-paced, economically crafted and always thought-provoking exercise explores all the vital components of real leadership. These strictly defined and carefully categorized aspects of management are then further dissected and scrutinized for ready implementation. According to the authors, yes, leaders can be cultivated and created. Select case studies from the international community drive this point home. But those looking for a simple shortcut to success should take note: This isn't some formula forappearingmore credible before the masses; it is a prescription for actuallybecomingmore credible. This alone makes it an indispensable resource for anyone presuming to lead any group of people—be it a Cub Scout pack or a Fortune 500 company. Armed with the information contained here, toiling subordinates and wary constituents alike will instantly become better at recognizing bad leadership qualities and, as a consequence, more demanding of those of a higher caliber.

A profound exploration of credible leadership presented in a thoroughly engaging, accessible format.

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Product Details

Publication date:
J-B Leadership Challenge: Kouzes/Posner , #244
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Barnes & Noble
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771 KB


Meet the Author

James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner are the coauthors of the classic bestselling books The Leadership Challenge, The Truth About Leadership, A Leader's Legacy, Encouraging the Heart, and over a dozen other books and workbooks on leadership. They also developed the highly-acclaimed Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI), a 360-degree assessment tool based on The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership. Jim is the Dean's Executive Fellow of Leadership and Barry is Professor of Leadership at Santa Clara University's Leavey School of Business. They are among the world's most trusted and influential scholars on leadership. For more information, please visit

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Credibility: How Leaders Gain and Lose It, Why People Demand It 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you have ever asked the question "Why do I trust my ______?" This book is sure to help you understand why you do. It is a great book that not only helps you understand those above you in the hierarchy of you organization, but also yourself.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner use detailed research to show how leaders can achieve credibility. This book tells what caring leaders should do. If you are a leader, heed it. If you are managed ¿ and not managing ¿ don¿t assume that your leaders care as much as those shown here. You will be ill-prepared for harsh reality. As a leader, you should know that the global marketplace has changed greatly. Now, shareholders jettison stocks if earnings fall below expectations. Executives slash U.S. jobs and export the remaining jobs to India and China. This is an age of multi-billion-dollar paychecks for chief executive officers, but psychological insecurity for workers. In this turmoil, it¿s great to read what good leaders should do. The book is practical with a solid psychological grounding. Bottom line from us: these researchers are nice guys, writing for similarly nice guys. But not every leader is a nice guy. So trust, but verify. Or lead, and be nice.