FOREWORD

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There’s a scene in the film adaptation of Muriel Spark’s classic, The

Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, during which Head Mistress McKay calls Miss

Brodie to her office to chastise Miss Brodie for her somewhat unorthodox

teaching methods.1 Head Mistress McKay comments on the precocity of

Miss Brodie’s students. Miss Brodie accepts this as a compliment, not a

criticism and says:

“To me education is a leading out. The word education comes from

the root ‘ex,’ meaning ‘out,’ and ‘duco,’ ‘I lead.’ To me education is simply

a leading out of what is already there.”

To this head mistress McKay responds rather haughtily, saying, “I had

hoped there might also be a certain amount of putting in.”

Miss Brodie laughs at this notion and replies, “That would not be education,

but intrusion.”

Lois Hart and Charlotte Waisman would make Jean Brodie proud. 50

Activities for Developing Leaders is not about “putting in.” It’s about leading

out of what is already in the hearts and minds of learners. That’s as it

should be, for development should never be intrusive. It should never be

about filling someone full of facts or skills. It just won’t work. Education

should always be liberating. It should be about releasing what is already

inside us.

Leadership development is self-development. The quest for leadership

is first an inner quest to discover who you are. That is clearly the premise

of this wonderful collection of developmental activities. They guide learners

on that fascinating journey of self-awareness and self-confidence that

can only come from experiencing something in themselves for themselves.

Learning to lead is about discovering what you value. About what

inspires you. About what challenges you. About what gives you power and

Portions of this foreword are adapted from The Leadership Challenge by James M. Kouzes

and Barry Z. Posner. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2002. Copyright © 2003 James M. Kouzes

and Barry Z. Posner. All rights reserved.

1 This scene is from the film version of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, produced by Robert

Fryer and directed by Robert Neame. Screenplay by Jay Presson Allen. Twentieth Century

Fox Productions, 1968. Adapted from the novel, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, by Muriel

Spark (New York: Perennial Classics, 1999).

competence. About what encourages you. When you discover these things about yourself,

you’ll know what it takes to lead those qualities out of others. I assure you that if

you engage others in the experiences in this volume, that’s exactly what will happen.

Sometimes liberation is as uncomfortable as intrusion, but in the end when you

discover it for yourself you know that what’s inside is what you found there and what

belongs there. It’s not something put inside you by someone else; you discover you’ve

had the gifts all along.

But just when you think that it’s the experience that’s the teacher, you quickly

learn that it’s really not what this is all about. Experiential learning is essential to mastery,

but there’s another critical lesson awaiting you and your learners.

In the process of my own development as an adult educator, I was extremely fortunate

to have participated in programs led by some of the most seasoned training

professionals in the business. One of them was Fred Margolis. Fred was a student of

Malcolm Knowles, the father of the theory and method of adult learning known as

andragogy. Fred was a master, and he taught me a lesson in the early 1970’s that has

shaped everything I’ve done as an educator since then.

I was doing some work in Washington, D. C., and after a day of training Fred and

I met at an Italian restaurant for dinner. During our dinner, Fred asked me, “Jim, what’s

the best way to learn something?” Since I’d been extensively involved in experiential

learning, I confidently told Fred the obvious: “The best way to learn something is to

experience it yourself.”

“No,” Fred responded. “The best way to learn something is to teach it to somebody

else!” Boing! That was one of those moments when your brain does a double take, and

you realize that you’ve just heard something extremely profound and a whole new

world is about to unfold.

What I learned that day from Fred—and I continue to learn every day I am with a

group—is that the act of teaching is an act of learning. The deepest kind of learning.

You’ve probably felt the impact of this yourself—whether you’re an expert or a novice.

The moment you’re asked to teach you start to think, study, worry, and prepare. In

the process you become consumed by learning. You know you’re on the line. You’re

going to have to perform live in front of others, and you better know your stuff. You’ve

got to learn at a deeper level.

That lesson—we learn best when we teach someone else—has shaped my style more

profoundly than any other lesson on learning. It inspires me daily to find new ways

for people to teach each other. When participants put themselves out there as role

models or subject matter experts, I know and they know that they’ve got to reach inside

a lot deeper than if I just ask them to take part in a simulation.

This is the most important benefit of Lois and Charlotte’s contribution. They don’t

just ask people to be learners. They ask participants to be teachers. It’s the teaching

that participants do after the experience that is the most critical part of the process.

That’s when everyone knows they’ve internalized it, made it a part of themselves. And

when you’ve internalized it, you can externalize it; you can teach it to others.

All of this is reinforced by something else that my coauthor Barry Posner and I

found in doing research for the third edition of The Leadership Challenge. What we uncovered

is that the best leaders are the best learners. And what would you say comes

first, the capacity to learn or the capacity to lead? We think that learning comes first.

Learning to lead comes second. So what you are doing by fully engaging others in the

experience of learning—not just the experience of leading—will benefit them in every

other aspect of their lives. That is the magic and the joy of leading out what is already

there!

Jim Kouzes

San Jose, California

April 2003