The Leadership Challenge

by Rebecca Wilson, JLS President

When given a choice of something to read personally or professionally, I always gravitate to books on organizational and leadership development. My educational background is in organizational leadership and change so I really enjoy learning about different models of maximizing the potential of leaders and of organizations.

One of my favorite books is The Leadership Challenge by Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner. I originally read this book as a participant in the Leadership Tomorrow program, but since then I have encouraged all groups I have been a part of to read it. I have worn out 2 copies of the book! The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership® model is a great quick reference. I see the five practices evident in the Junior League of Seattle every day! How are you demonstrating the practices in your role?

Model the Way

How are you a role model? Know that you as a Junior League of Seattle member are a role model to many in all placements! JLS members are constantly modeling the way for not only fellow members, but also our partners. It is so important to set that example and be present at events, programs, service shifts. Sometimes, just showing up makes a huge difference and shows you care!

Inspire a Shared Vision

What is your vision? Have you shared it with others? I have been in awe this year of the strategy that our committees have implemented, focusing on the end results of projects, programs and events and taking a backwards design approach, rather than growing from the bottom up. It is that approach that gets people on board with that team’s vision.

Challenge the Process

Always ask the question of “why?” This is one aspect I love about the Junior League of Seattle- our members challenge the process. While there are many instances of “that is the way we have always done it”, our members recognize when there is something that could be more efficient.

Enable Others to Act

We are a training organization! How are you helping someone build skills in an area? The next time you have many tasks on your plate, think of other members of your team and see if any of the tasks would grow a team member’s experience.

Encourage the Heart

This is a strength of the Junior League of Seattle. While the power of a thank you note is immense, think about how you are celebrating successes as a group. We are a volunteer organization! While we do accomplish a lot, an accomplishment is even more rewarding when there is proper celebration!



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