The building blocks of leader development: A psychological conceptual framework

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    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.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)664-684
    Number of pages21
    JournalLeadership and Organization Development Journal
    Issue number7
    StatePublished - 2007


    • Experiential learning
    • Leaders
    • Leadership development
    • Personality

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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