The benefits of a long-lens approach to leader development: Understanding the seeds of leadership

S.E. Murphy, S.K. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Although research has identified techniques for leader development, most of the extant research has focused on development in adulthood, ignoring development at an early age. A recent resurgence in interest in the genetic or other early development factors, such as attachment, points to the benefits of understanding the developmental trajectories (Day, Harrison, & Halpin, 2009) of individuals throughout adulthood. This paper argues for an examination of the earliest "seeds" of leader development. In this paper we present a framework that explores the tasks of leadership at various ages before adulthood, the skills required to accomplish these tasks, and the mechanism by which younger leaders develop these skills. In understanding what skills and what features of leadership identity have long roots, we can begin to understand more fully the developmental needs of adults. Without a more comprehensive look at leadership over the lifespan, leader development practices will not meet their full potential.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)459-470
Number of pages12
JournalThe Leadership Quarterly
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2011

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Leadership
  • Leader development
  • Leader identity
  • Youth leadership
  • Life-span approach


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