Purpose – The paper aims to present a conceptual model that delineates the psychological substructures (“building blocks”) and their impact on the major learning processes required for leader development. Design/methodology/approach – Based on theories in developmental psychology, it is argued that certain variables formed in early childhood are “building blocks” for leader development in later phases of the individual's life. The influence of these variables on leader development is discussed. Findings – The building blocks – self‐confidence, pro‐social orientation, proactive optimistic orientation, openness, along with high motivation to lead – are precursors for (socialized) leader development. Their significance and how they affect two major learning processes of leaders – experiential learning and vicarious learning – are discussed. Originality/value – The article presents a conceptualization that is research oriented and can be tested empirically. Most of the concepts discussed have valid and reliable measures that can be used in future research. The directions discussed also have practical implications, particularly with regard to methodical selection and development of leaders – issues that are of special concern to large organizations.
Leadership & Organization Development Journal – Emerald Publishing
Published: Sep 25, 2007
Keywords: Leaders; Leadership development; Experiential learning; Personality
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