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Leadership Development

5 Practices for Leading Virtually


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The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership are guideposts for leaders

Managers and leaders are facing a balancing act each day. Daily tasks include: working with direct reports and others in the organization, performing their daily duties (perhaps virtually), and planning and realizing big-picture organizational plans. Leaders must be at their best across a range of situations, from supporting direct reports to leading initiatives.

Since 1982, The Leadership Challenge authors Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner have seen through their research how leaders perform when they are at their best. Whether it was leading a project or managing a department, these leaders shared their Personal-Best Leadership Experiences and through these stories, Kouzes and Posner found the behaviors that exceptional leaders engage in.

These behaviors are the basis of The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership®: Model the Way, Inspire a Shared Vision, Challenge the Process, Enable Others to Act, and Encourage the Heart. In our virtual Leadership Challenge® Workshops and virtual LPI® Workshops, leaders learn how they demonstrate each of these practices and gain insight from suggestions on how to improve.


Putting the five practices of exemplary leadership to work Virtually

Here are some examples of how you can bring The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership® to life into your workplace, even at a distance:

  1. Make sure that you communicate to your team members what’s important to you as a leader, identify what’s important to your team members, and use what you learn to rally around a common purpose. Having a common purpose is especially important when working virtually, with fewer opportunities to interact in-person and organically.
  2. Help your people get excited about the future that you are creating together. Share with them how their work will make a difference–one year from now, three years from now, five years from now, ten years from now. 
  3. Provide opportunities for team members to grow personally and professionally. This involves not only honing their skills but facilitating opportunities to deepen relationships, increase self-awareness, and give back to others.
  4. And always say thanks and show appreciation for everything your people do! 


The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership® are a balancing act within themselves. It’s certainly possible to rely too significantly on one practice or a few practices more than others. That’s why the research shows leaders who exhibit each of The Five Practices® more frequently are more effective.

At its heart, The Leadership Challenge encourages leaders to get outside their own comfort zone—to Challenge the Process—and diversify their skills. Each leader tends toward some of The Five Practices® more than others. It’s human nature. The hard part comes when you are tasked with improving in areas of weakness.

Luckily, the LPI® is a great tool for identifying your strengths and opportunities. We encourage you to join us for our upcoming LPI® virtual workshop, where participants will have an opportunity to identify meaningful action plans to improve their demonstration of these practices.

Attend The Leadership Challenge online!

Bill Mugavin

Bill Mugavin is a Senior Leadership Development Consultant at FlashPoint. He has worked with top-tier Fortune 1000 global organizations to improve leadership and management effectiveness.