The Leadership Challenge at Lycoming College

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Learn why 350 students and staff have participated in the program! More information about this great leadership development program at Lycoming.

Larry Mannolini, Director of Student Programs and Leadership Development is a Certified Facilitator of the Student Leadership Challenge!  See a list at:

For more information on the Student Leadership Challenge please see:


After much research on various leadership development models available, it was decided to proceed with implementation of The Leadership Challenge at Lycoming. The first introductory sessions were given in the 2008-09 academic year and a full rollout of the new model and SLPI on campus began in the fall of 2009. Since then, 331 students and 19 staff members have attended the introductory session prior to taking the SLPI.  These individuals have either taken or are currently taking the SLPI and then working through subsequent workshops following being given their results.

The concept of the program at Lycoming is to have students of various constituencies (interested students, student leaders, Resident Assistant, members of the LEAP Program) attend an introductory session on the program.  The subject matter of the program both introduces the model and begins to delve into personal values clarification, which is a key component of Modeling the Way. Kouzes and Posner would argue that in order to lead others, an individual leader must know what he/she stands for and lives by as an individual.

An online account is created for the students for them to log in and both take the SLPI and assign their observers. There is no cost to the student to take the SLPI. The 30 behavior questions are based on a five-point scale based on frequency of exhibiting each behavior. Following the student taking the SLPI and their observers doing so as well, a 16-page statistical analysis report is generated giving the student feedback on how frequently they exhibit the behaviors, thus giving them a snapshot of where they are now and a starting point for practicing the behaviors more in order to improve the frequency.

Subsequent workshops are conducted based on each of the five practices and then the student takes the SLPI a second time to provide another snapshot and comparative analysis showing in what areas the student has shown improvement.

The Director of Student Programs and Leadership Development has attended two training workshops in recent years in Chicago and San Diego. The Director has also taken a summer-long class on The Leadership Challenge, which culminated in a final class/workshop in San Diego in August. As a result, the Director is officially credentialed as a Certified Facilitator of The Leadership Challenge by Jossey-Bass, an imprint of Wiley Inc., of San Francisco, Calif.

Additionally, the Director has had the opportunity to review a first draft of the 2nd Edition of The Student Leadership Challenge for the authros prior to publication.  He is has published Student Leadership Challenge activities in The Student Leadership Challenge Activities Book.

Summary of The Leadership Challenge Itself

The Leadership Challenge is based on continuing research begun in 1983 by Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner, researchers at Santa Clara University.

The model originated with individual interviews on what people did when they were at their "personal best" in leading others.  Kouzes and Posner soon noticed a pattern developing in the answers given during these interviews. An analysis of thousands of these initial "personal best leadership experiences" brought Kouzes and Posner to develop the model we know today based on the Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership:  Model the Way, Inspire a Shared Vision, Challenge the Process, Enable Other to Act, Encourage the Heart.

An instrument was developed, the Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI,) which would measure the frequency of how often people exhibit thirty specific leadership behaviors derived from the five practices. The LPI has been used widely in many different industries and corporations and is now one of the most widely used leadership instruments in the world. A version of the LPI has been developed for students, called the SLPI. It is a 360-degree instrument where the student takes the SLPI answering questions about him/herself and then asking other people to take the instrument answering the same questions about the student.  These observers, would be selected by the student as being people who have observed the student in some sort of leadership capacity.

Kouzes and Posner's main book, The Leadership Challenge, has sold over 1.8 million copies and been translated into 20 different languages. It has been selected as one of the Top 10 books on leadership of all time (according to The 100 Best Business Books of All Time). More than 400 doctoral dissertations and academic research projects have been based on the Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership Model.

All of The Leadership Challenge-related books, assessment instruments, and training materials are published by Jossey-Bass (books) and Pfeiffer (assessments and training materials), imprints of John Wiley & Sons, Copyright 2000-12. Portions of this handout were derived from the official website on The Leadership Challenge,, and were included only for the purposes of describing the program as it is used at Lycoming College.