Purpose – The purpose of this article is to make explicit a number of positive views that professionals have about assuming formal leadership positions and relating those aspects to leadership development. Design/methodology/approach – A total of 17 leaders in the pharmaceutical industry were interviewed about their perceptions of leadership. A challenging interview technique was developed in order to elicit reflections on leadership. The interviews were analysed with regard to content. Findings – The oxymoronic nature of professionals as leaders was confirmed but a more comprehensive picture was obtained. Positive aspects of the leadership role were identified: reward for good scientific work, increased influence over scientific processes, and tutoring and developing colleagues. Interest, curiosity and the ability to discuss and learn more about leadership were displayed. By drawing on the devotion to science, those positive aspects should be used in leadership development, e.g. relating scientific tutoring to leadership skills and clarifying the importance of leadership for successful scientific work. The activities should have a challenging approach. Research limitations/implications – The result might have been different if leaders from additional organisational levels, or from a less successful R&D site, had been interviewed. Practical implications – The increased merging of professional and leadership roles makes the findings important. Results are actionable in that human resource departments can take advantage of the findings when training and preparing scientists for leadership positions. Originality/value – This paper offers an alternative view of professionals in the leadership role to the view traditionally put forth in the literature.
Mulec, K. (2006), "Positive professional leaders: aspects to consider in leadership development", Leadership & Organization Development Journal, Vol. 27 No. 1, pp. 66-81. https://doi.org/10.1108/01437730610641377Download as .RIS
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