Leader Development Deconstructed



This book examines both academic and practical theories relating to leader development. It broadens the scope of this topic by including data-driven theory and proposals from diverse areas that are either not currently represented or are poorly addressed in existing literature. This 15th volume in the Annals of Theoretical Psychology series aims to propose, identify, and characterize new theoretical, educational, and practical gaps in leader development. The initial chapters explore concepts related to individual or internal aspects of leaders. Subsequent chapters deconstruct leader development by considering behaviors or skills and various environmental factors that affect development. The book also examines shortcomings of our current understanding of this topic that cuts across multiple disciplines. • Cognition, readiness to lead, courage through dialogue, and relationship considerations • Behavioral elements and approaches for developing followership, conflict management, creativity, virtue, and epistemic cognition in growing leaders for complex environments. • Seven Steps to establish a Leader and Leadership Education and Development Program. • The Dark Triad of personality, psychobiosocial perspectives, and mental ability in leaders Leader Development Deconstructed will be of interest to research scholars, academics, educators, and practitioners as well as executive coaches, college or university administrators, military leaders, philanthropic and non-profit organization leaders, and management consultants. Despite the extensive body of knowledge associated with leader and leadership development, significant gaps still exist in our understanding of these processes. This book is a noteworthy effort to help fill in the blanks through empirical research and contextual application. It is worthy of perusal by anyone interested in becoming a more effective leader or leader developer. - Bernard Banks, Ph.D., Associate Dean of Leadership Development, Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management One of the most powerful ways leaders can have an impact on others and their mission is to manage for innovation... This book is a great step in moving towards exploring how you do that, and I'm thrilled to be a part of that conversation! - Frances Hesselbein, President and CEO, Frances Hesselbein Leadership Institute

Chapters (14)

Leader development is a topic that is addressed in various academic forums where numerous disciplines, many of which are behavioral sciences, attempt to claim topic ownership. However, the understanding of leader development is incomplete and there is a clear practical demand in education and business. Accordingly, in this volume the purpose is to have academics bring their expertise and theoretical perspectives from other behavioral sciences to the topic of leader development, thus expanding the network of ideas on this important topic. In the end, by “deconstructing” leader development into areas that are important for leaders, albeit incompletely addressed elsewhere in literature, this publication will be useful to academic researchers, educators, and practitioners as the primary audience. The identification of gaps will inform researchers as they examine capability shortfalls and the limits of our understanding of this topic since it cuts across disciplines. Educators will be able to use the concepts and theories proposed in the volume to develop engaging academic programs, regardless of discipline, that will help challenge and grow leaders across disciplines in their respective educational programs. Finally, practitioners like executive coaches can use the theories and examples proposed to advise clients on important elements of leader development and how they can affect change in growing leaders. The volume is organized around the ideas of Lewin and Bandura to address the person, behavior, and environment, which also serves as a useful heuristic for those involved in the process of deconstructing leader development.
Many leader types have been described and are useful. Because so many leader types have been identified, they may be interpreted as competing with each other rather than as complementary or alternative types that depend on individual leaders, the groups that are being led, or the situations in which leadership occurs. This chapter suggests that it is valuable to identify a leader type that can serve as an umbrella term and concept to capture principles relevant to all types of effective leadership. The identification of an overarching, effective leader type is based on a psychobiosocial perspective that draws from field theory in the social sciences and from the stress literature. Based on these literatures, the term “allostatic leader” is offered to describe an ideal leader who responds, adapts, learns, and changes with experience to become even more effective in subsequent situations. Consequently, a clear operational and holistic definition can best focus leader education and development programs to optimally grow effective leaders.
Intelligence (also known as general mental ability or g), as an explanatory construct, has been somewhat ignored in the study of human development in general and in leader development in particular. Studies of intelligence reveal it to be a strong predictor of academic, career, and life success. Researchers in the past have shown that intelligence also plays a role in predicting leadership emergence and effectiveness. Leader development, however, since it is properly nested in developmental (and organizational) psychology, tends to elicit the use of models and social processes to explain how leaders develop. In contrast, intelligence researchers have traditionally taken an individual difference approach. Evidence is herein presented which supports the validity of intelligence as a psychological scientific construct and demonstrates its association with academic, occupational, and life achievement. Then, in more speculative fashion, the literature dealing with leadership and leader development is explained, culminating in suggestions for a research agenda.
For a long time, leadership research has focused too much on idealized, romantic, and “good” forms of leadership (e.g., transformational, empowering, authentic, and ethical leadership), but neglected the antagonistic part: the dark side of leadership. Current personality and leadership literature suggests that, due to their high need for power and social dominance orientation, a variety of dark triad personalities (narcissists, Machiavellians, and psychopaths) can be found in leadership positions. Accordingly, dark leadership reflects a part of leadership reality. Nevertheless, the dark side of leadership is still relatively understudied. This chapter combines dark triad personality with dark leadership research to describe narcissistic, Machiavellian, and psychopathic leadership. Additionally, the role of the dark triad in leader development is described. Dark leaders may be selfish, impulsive, exploitative, and toxic but still be as effective or successful as prosocial, self-controlled, and “good” leaders. The focus on leaders’ dark traits and leadership could improve our understanding of the complex, dynamic, and challenging field of leadership research. Thus, knowledge on the strengths and weaknesses of the dark triad can be utilized in leader development.
This chapter examines leadership as courage, and places them both in the context of dialogue. By making the discussion surrounding leader behavior one which relies on courage and making courage-based decisions, I argue that leadership in dialogue makes for more effective leadership. It can also be inferred that the most effective and flexible leadership paradigm is one that engages leaders, those operationalizing the vision of the leader, and the others who operate in the local environment. Through an examination of the writings of Rollo May as well as Albert Bandura the exploration of courage is demonstrated to be a crucial component for developing leaders and leadership. Specifically, courage is an essential factor in leadership in dialogue and it adds to the role played by cognition, behavior, and the environment. Courage is the key element needed to create the opportunity to grow. Through examples from everyday leadership and from media, dialogue is shown to be an essential component of effective and collaborative leader behavior. Dialogue is how the personal trait of courage can be made visible to leaders and followers alike. Developing courage in dialogue is critical for leader development.
Individuals high on leader developmental readiness experience the largest gains in leader development outcomes as a result of formal programming or stretch experiences. Leader developmental readiness is a theoretical framework defined by the three pillars of ability to develop, motivation to develop, and a context supportive of development. We deconstruct the three pillars into their parts, some which scholars previously associated with leader developmental readiness and some that we propose as new contributors to the domain of leader development. By doing so, we demonstrate that leader developmental readiness provides a flexible overarching framework for understanding the process of leader development. Finally, we assert that interactions among the three pillars reconstruct leader developmental readiness into a higher order construct predictive of leader development outcomes and ripe for future research.
Leadership development programs have traditionally focused on building a leader’s skills, identities, and behavioral styles with little attention paid to followers. Yet we know that followers are an integral part of the leadership process, and effective followership can positively influence both leaders and organizations. The purpose of this chapter is to define and present a model for followership development in organizations. Using followership theory and research as a foundation, this chapter discusses two forms of followership behavior (i.e., active and passive), and examines the ways in which different followership styles can affect leaders and the leadership process. In doing so, I make a case for why organizations should invest in followership development for both leaders and followers in organizations, and present a general model for followership development programs. As organizations continue to rely on effective followership to support and enhance leadership, it is imperative that we begin bringing followers into the leadership development equation.
This chapter contributes to research on leader development by evaluating how managers can effectively address leader-employee conflicts (goal, task, personal) by applying specific forms of organizational controls (input, behavior, output), by building particular forms of trust (demonstrating their ability, benevolence, and integrity) and by promoting distinct forms of fairness (distributive, procedural, interactional). By examining how leaders can preserve, protect, and promote their legitimacy and authority through multifaceted conflict management strategies, the ideas described in this chapter are presented in an effort to move leadership research past its current focus on singular types of control, trust-building, and fairness-promotion actions to examine how complementary forms of these activities can jointly motivate employee cooperation. The discussion at the end of the chapter examines how the principles outlined in this theory can be integrated into leadership development initiatives.
In the interest of developing leaders who are both deeply ethical and highly creative, this essay explores the theoretical and practical links between ethics and creativity—two fields of research that are not often thought to have much to do with one another. Drawing on contemporary work both in philosophy and social psychology, I will argue that the notion of skill serves as one prominent theoretical link with substantial practical implications. This link comes with challenges, however. One major challenge suggests that situational factors are far more determinative of behavior than one’s character. A second challenge suggests that developing creative leaders could be at cross-purposes with developing ethical leaders. Accounting for these challenges, this essay offers ways one might develop virtuous and creative leaders. When developed together, virtue will provide both direction and limits to creativity, and creativity will support the development of practical wisdom. Ultimately, this essay aims to show how one might develop highly creative and deeply ethical leaders.
Academic institutions of higher education are beginning to recognize that in order to prepare learners to be leaders in the ever-changing and ill-defined environments of the twenty-first century and thereafter that we need a new way of developing students who can think and act independently with and through the collective (i.e., others and groups of people). This ever-increasing complexity necessitates new methods for elucidating independent critical thinking skills for developing leaders in structured academic contexts that inherently must involve epistemic cognition. Further, this type of thinking cannot be focused on ill-defined ideas; it must involve a method for guided growth that leads to a logic-of-inquiry-for-action that necessarily involves flexible social constructions by, for, and through the actions and behaviors of the actors involved. This chapter proposes a new way of conceptualizing a process for building capacity for leading using theories and methodologies from various disciplines through a sociocultural and ethnographic approach as an orienting theory in a dynamic framework for constructing a logic-of-inquiry-for-action for leading in complex and ill-defined environments. This inquiry-based approach is grounded in a reflexive design: requiring stepping back from ethnocentrism, reflecting on actions and outcomes, acquiring new information if needed, and then taking informed action in an iterative, recursive, and abductive decision-making process. This process also provides an accessible and dynamic framework for individual epistemic cognition.
Personnel selection is a factor that has a big impact on the development of individual leaders. An appropriate selection instrument for leaders is the assessment center (AC) method. This is a condensed probationary period in which candidates are observed and evaluated in a variety of simulation exercises by a group of independent assessors with respect to several relevant behavioral dimensions, mostly used to identify leadership potential. But it only attains its full effect when the relevant quality standards are considered. That is, ACs have to be developed, implemented, and evaluated according to their intended purpose; organizations must analyze the target position and define success-relevant behavior with sophisticated methods, resulting in behavioral dimensions that can be defined and observed with consistency. On this basis can simulation exercises be developed which tap into all facets of previously defined competencies. During the AC process itself, assessors must use systematic procedures to record and rate assessed behavior and discuss their observations and judgments with other assessors in order to monitor and minimize the inevitable subjectivity. The whole process results in a fair and sound report on the individual assessed, which allows well-founded decisions to be made and helpful feedback to be provided. Due to its solid theoretical foundation, the involvement of the relevant stakeholders, and its systematic, multi-methodical approach, the AC is the most tangible instrument encountered in the process of leader development and also has an effect on the leadership culture in the respective organization. With the implementation and application of the AC method, the organization makes a clear statement concerning the perception of good leadership and that one is willing to invest in leader development.
Major areas of focus within past work on leader development center on aspects of one’s own identity and self-awareness, one’s ability to grow, change, and adapt to new situations, and development of the necessary skills and competencies needed to lead. There has been some discussion of the importance of social networks or relationships, but an understanding of the unique ways in which various types of social support received (and provided) within those relationships may contribute to leader development has not been fully examined. Here, I explore past work on social support to illustrate the unique ways in which support given and received for both positive and negative events may help develop leaders, as support communicates acceptance and affirmation and provides important outside perspectives.
Despite long-standing debates about whether leaders are born or made, current thinking within the leadership field is that leaders can be developed. In the arena of health and healthcare, developing effective, value-driven and outcome-focused leaders is critical to address the many challenges facing systems that promote and maintain health as well as focus on healthcare delivery and practices. Effective health and healthcare leaders are needed to set thoughtful policies; educate the public about primary prevention strategies; identify best practices (administrative and clinical); allocate healthcare resources wisely; address healthcare needs and disparities; focus on optimal clinical outcomes and value in the delivery of care; and encourage individuals to engage in behaviors that enhance well-being. This chapter presents seven steps to establish a Leader and Leadership Education and Development (LEAD) program. These steps were based on the authors’ experience establishing a LEAD program at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU) where physicians, advanced practice nurses, dentists, psychologists, and scientists are trained for the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Public Health Service, and civilians are trained to become scientists, academicians, and clinicians with a focus on national service and health. These same steps also could be used as a guide to establish programs that educate and develop leaders for other professions and careers.
The United States is comprised of approximately 18,000 law enforcement agencies. According to the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics roughly half of those agencies are comprised of ten or fewer members. Seventy-five percent of those have fewer than 25 officers patrolling in counties or towns where standards and practices are not consistent. Quality control is hindered by the small size of these agencies. There are no national standards in regard to all of these agencies in reference to management or leadership. When we moderate productivity, motivation, and scope of the job, what type of leaders do we rely on to make decisions? In police departments, officers often have freedom and discretion to do what they choose during day-to-day operations. Often they have limited supervision for most of their workday. The result is they are left to learn leadership from their peers and their own experiences. Police leadership is cultivated, not through formal training or education, but from attributes, skills, and informal development. Most depend on their life experiences, guidance from their superiors, and whatever culture exists within their individual agency. If agencies have a culture of high standards, then likely they have adopted the same standards for promoting and training their leadership. However, many agencies do not have even basic testing in place to determine a baseline competency level for its street-level supervisors. When you start at a low threshold this standard is likely to carry up to the higher levels of the agencies’ management. This is not a catch-all for all law enforcement agencies across the country. As there is no national standard, most states have created their own quality of professional standards and training requirements. With law enforcement agencies under such scrutiny today I explore the perceptions and frameworks in place that develop leadership within this culture.
In evacuation models, individual interactions are typically assumed to follow the certain rules which are decided using prior knowledge. Our proposed improvement in evacuation modelling is inspired by the real-life experience that during crowd movements, individuals usually place their visual focus on the movements of their neighbours, even in the absence of social affiliations. That is, undeclared leader–follower (ULF) structures tend to emerge in crowd motion. In this study, to clarify the mechanism underlying individual interactions in crowd motion, a force-based model integrated with the ULF structure (LFM) was developed. An information-theoretic and model-free method, transfer entropy (TE), was applied to measure the ULF structure in evacuation crowds. Movement information (e.g., velocity and acceleration) was used as the time series for computing TE. The results showed that the LFM provides more realistic trajectories than does the classical social force model. In addition, the leader–follower structures were found to change over time, and an individual could act as a leader and a follower simultaneously during evacuation. ULF behaviour is strong at the early stage of evacuation and becomes weak when evacuees’ differences in movement states diminish. Moreover, the density map of leaders’ distributions presented a ‘V-like’ formation. Recognising the leader–follower relationship is central to understanding the mechanisms underlying the emergence of collective behaviour. The proposed approach is expected to aid in simulating realistic local interactions among evacuees and in providing a data-driven perspective for understanding crowd evacuation.
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A vast majority of research characterizes organizational politics as an aversive phenomenon and thus recommends exploring the factors that minimize its intensity. This study primarily endeavored to examine the role of high performance work practices (HPWPs) in controlling organizational politics. The moderating influence of Machiavellian personalities on HPWPs- politics was also evaluated. Through a questionnaire survey, 243 responses were obtained from engineers working in a local industrial area of capital city of Pakistan. The results showed an inverse relationship between HPWPs and perceived organizational politics (POP), and the moderating role of Machiavellianism was substantiated. Practical implications are presented based on the study results.
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