Tools of Leadership Development

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Genetics and certain personality traits play a dominant role in leader development. Multiple research studies have been done to determine the extent of which genetics plays a role. According to Murphy and Johnson’s analysis of the data published “the studies suggest that anywhere from 30-59% of the personality characteristics predictive of leadership can be attributed to genetic factors”. Although this is quite a high percentage, it does stand to reason that 40-70% of the characteristics therefore come from other factors.

Additionally other factors such as birth order, month of birth, participation in sports activities and parenting style used can also have an influence on leader development ability. It was found that children who are considered “old” for their grade therefore having the early birthdays tend to be more academically successful throughout their entire schooling including through college when compared to those children who are considered “young” for their grade.

There is a difference between gender personalities in developing leaders as well. Society has a much strong impact on the development of leadership in girls and women.1 This is because society has varying expectations which are different for boys and girls and they tend to learn to lead differently. Boys interact with other boys in an enabling manner with assertiveness, competition and disagreement while girls develop constricting habits of interaction including turn taking and providing support.1 Girls who have strong social skills and social intelligence and who got along with their classmates are more likely seen as leaders, while these specific markers had no effect on leadership development in boys.

Psychologist Timothy A. Judge and his colleagues did a meta-analysis of studies which looked at the “Big Five” personality traits, openness to experience, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness and neuroticism and their predictors to develop leaders. Extroversion was the strongest predictor of leadership development and more specifically dominance and sociability within the subclass of extroversion. Conscientiousness, the ability to be organized and hardworking was the next strongest predictor of leadership development. Following that was openness to experience, neuroticism and finally agreeableness.

In the book, Leadership Development by Manuel London, it is suggested that there are three needed psychological factors to develop into a successful leader, self-insight, self-regulation and self-identity. London, stresses the need to establish goals to develop into a leader. These need to be realistic and obtainable goals with an appropriate time frame to achieve them.

Self-insight is essential to have as a leader. It will be impossible to understand the needs of followers if the leader doesn’t understand themselves first. A successful leader needs to develop the ability to be aware of their typical behavior and how they are perceived by others. Feedback is crucial in this stage for the leader to evolve.

Self-regulation is the ability for develop the skill of impulse control. A successful and effective leader has to be able to see the big picture and implement the appropriate action at the correct time for the right situation.

Self-identify is to lead by example. A set of ethical and moral standards needs to be initiated and followed by an effective leader. This is a continuously updating process.

The Murphy et al. article goes into the idea of self-identify in even more detail. To be successful the leader should view themselves as a leader and envision the positive image and traits they want to convey. Self-awareness and the ability to understand what motivates and creates a positive image and goals is a skill that a leader needs to develop in this realm.

Avolio and Hannah’s article discusses the factors that establish how ready someone is to engage in leader development. There are six established points to evaluate developmental readiness. The first is the nature of one’s goals which is engaging in learning situations with the end goal of mastering the material and thus being able to increase self-knowledge. Developmental confidence is the ability to have confidence in oneself that there is information to learn. Second order thinking is the next point which is the ability to have better problem solving skills.

Motivation to development leadership is the next key point, which is the internal drive to want to develop into a leader. The next key point is self-awareness which is evaluating how others view the leader compared to how the leader views themselves. Ideally how the leader views themselves is how followers should view them. If this is not the case then further improvement is needed to bridge this gap. Finally there is self-complexity which is simply how complex or multi-faceted the leader is.

Genetics, personality and overall awareness and ability to improve oneself is the very core of leader development. One must be able to recognize and utilize these tools in order to be successful in leader development.

Cite this paper

Tools of Leadership Development. (2021, Aug 14). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/tools-of-leadership-development/

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