Main principles and practices in leader development

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Purpose - Aims to present a conceptual framework for understanding how leaders develop. Design/methodology/approach - The arguments are derived from the assumption that leadership, like many other human manifestations, is a function of a given potential, relevant motivation, and ongoing developmental processes. It is argued that three developmental psychological principles are essential for leaders' development, i.e. experiential learning, vicarious learning, and the suitability of certain developmental aspects to relevant critical periods. Findings - These developmental principles, along with Schon's modalities of learning and reflections ("follow me", "joint investigation" and "hall of mirrors"), serve as a conceptual framework for discussing main implications and practices related to developing leaders. Originality/value - Leaders' development is a process that occurs continuously in an organization. Many organizations attempt to confine it artificially to courses and supplementary training. This limits the range of developmental possibilities, since leadership experiences and vicarious learning take place all the time over a broad range throughout the organization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)62-75
Number of pages14
JournalLeadership and Organization Development Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2005


  • Experiential learning
  • Leadership development
  • Learning processes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business, Management and Accounting (miscellaneous)
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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