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Women Leaders Tell Their Stories

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TITLE Women Leaders Tell Their Stories
RESEARCHER Marilyn L. Grady, Virginia Russell Curley, and Barbara Lacost
Journal of Women in Educational Leadership (2008)
Vol. 6, No. 4, 275-291

The purpose of this research was to identify examples of women education leaders at their best and compare these with the Kouzes Posner leadership framework.

Fifty women were invited to participate in the study and all agree to write a case study about a time when they were involved with a successful leadership experience. Each woman told her story in a small group setting. The stories were examined in relationship to Kouzes and Posner’s five practices of exemplary leadership framework.

The authors’ conclude:

The women who participated in this study affirmed the five practices and ten commitments identified by Kouzes and Posner in The Leadership Challenge (2002). Leaders gave voice to experiences that allowed them to ‘model the way,’ inspire a shared vision,’ ‘challenge the process,’ ‘enable others to act,’ and, ‘encourage the heart.’ As participants shared their vignettes, a second layer of assurance became evident. In addition to their ability to give voice to the five practices as exemplary leaders, they also identified the steps necessary for them to become these leaders. The first step each leader had to take included seeking opportunities to develop confidence and skills when they did not see themselves as leaders. Excerpts from the transcripts illuminate the developmental process required to move from novice to exemplary leader (p. 284).