The Team Behind a Successful Leader

Even though this might seem unrelated, the concept of enlisting others is somewhat similar to a popular debate among sports enthusiasts that revolves around the true value of a head coach or manager. This is so because some would say talent ultimately wins out on the field of play, while others swear by a belief in the system where talent can only go so far without the right person in command.

Bringing this back to the world of business; is there a greater chance for a team of hard workers to succeed without a talented leader, or with someone who is respected and admired at the helm? Much like a sports team, the group needs a good leader to provide guidance, motivation, inspiration and oversight. Granted, a lack of these things will not immediately sink the ship, but overall success in the long term is far more difficult to achieve without that brilliant leader in control.

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Of course just as easy as it is to buy into that, there is the opposite side of the coin which overwhelmingly displays how impossible it is for a leader to succeed without enlisting others. Kouzes and Posner explain “whether they’re trying to mobilize a crowd in the grandstand or one person in the office, to Enlist Others leaders must improve their capacities to act on these two essentials … appeal to common ideals and animate the vision” (Kouzes and Posner, 2007).

They elaborate on that idea by describing how “successfully engaging in these two essentials can produce very powerful results … whether it’s to one person, a small group, or a large organization – constituents report significantly higher levels of job satisfaction, motivation, commitment, loyalty, team spirit, productivity, and profitability … clearly there’s a big payoff to bringing the vision to life” .

Before addressing the importance of animating the vision, it makes sense to discuss the reasons for a leader to focus on appealing to common ideals, because that is what will allow them to connect with their group. LastName – 3 In this case, it is important to see the link between the concepts learned from forward-looking, and those associated with appealing to common ideals, because a vision of the future should not derive from an individual point of view. On one hand, it is important to take pride in being a unique individual; yet at the same time, there is much to be said for aligning the leader’s dream with those of their constituents.

As previously mentioned, being forward-looking does not mean the person can look into a crystal ball and predict the future of an organization, but rather that they can envision a future which is respected by the constituents. Along this same line of thought, a leader who can enlist others in the process of being forward-looking is even more likely to succeed because their constituents will believe in a future that they took part in creating. Something else to remember during this process is how important it is for a leader to animate the vision.

Returning to the text, the authors write “if you’re going to lead, you have to recognize that your enthusiasm and expressiveness are among your strongest allies in your efforts to generate commitment in your constituents. By using symbolic language, creating word images of the future, practicing a positive communication style, tapping into verbal and nonverbal expressiveness, and speaking from the heart, you breath life (the literal definition of the word inspire) into a vision” (Kouzes and Posner, 2007). In other words, a leader must possess some tremendous communication skills if they are going to succeed in breathing life into the vision.

If they cannot effectively communicate, verbally or nonverbally, there will likely be some trouble within the process; yet at the same time, there are other strategies at their disposal to help animate the vision. Of course when all is said and done, as previously mentioned, a leader is only going to be as successful as his or her team, thus demonstrating why it is so important to enlist others.


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The Team Behind a Successful Leader. (2018, Jun 21). Retrieved from