Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



Sage Publications


Our leadership framework has its origins in a research project we, the authors, began in 1983. We wanted to know what people did when they were at their "personal best" in leading others. We devised a Personal-Best Leadership Experience Survey consisting of 38-item open-ended questions. In our initial research, we collected and analysed more than 550 of these surveys, each requiring 1 to 2 hours to complete. We reviewed an additional 80 short-form versions of the questionnaire and conducted 42 in-depth interviews. A thematic analysis of the leadership cases revealed clusters of behaviors that we identified as the Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership®. Our research is ongoing, and to date we've examined more than 5,000 personal-best leadership case studies and over 2 million leadership assessments from around the world. In this entry, we describe the Five Practices, give a brief comment about each from one of the leaders in our studies, present evidence that supports the impact of the Five Practices on constituent engagement and organizational performance, and suggest further reading about our work and that of other scholars and practitioners.

Chapter of

Encyclopedia of Management Theory


E. H. Kessler


Copyright © 2013 Sage Publications. Reprinted with permission.



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