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We know a great deal today about the impact of transformational leaders, their actions, typical behaviors and their ways of influencing others (Bass, 1985, 1999a, b; Bass…
We know a great deal today about the impact of transformational leaders, their actions, typical behaviors and their ways of influencing others (Bass, 1985, 1999a, b; Bass & Avolio, 1990). However, we know relatively little about the psychological substructure, the internal world of these leaders, namely who they are and how they developed this way. These aspects were raised earlier in Bass’s early work (Bass, 1985) but have received little attention so far (Bass, 1998; Judge & Bono, 2000). We argue that the internal world of a transformational leader is characterized by a motivation to lead, leadership self-efficacy, motivation and capacity to relate to others in a pro-social way, optimism and openness to new experiences and viewpoints of others. We further argue that the origins of the ability and motivation to be a transformational leader lie in childhood experiences, and that the development of this ability and motivation can be understood and conceptualized by means of major developmental theories such as attachment theory (Bowlby, 1969, 1973, 1977, 1988). On the basis of these theories, we suggest a researchable conceptual framework for characterization of the internal world and the development of transformational leaders.
The paper aims to present a conceptual model that delineates the psychological substructures (“building blocks”) and their impact on the major learning processes required…
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.
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.
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.
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.