Leaders are made, not born: study

Leaders are made, not born: study

Leaders are made, not born, and leadership development follows a specific progression, a new study has found.

Researchers at the University of Illinois found that science is involved in teaching leadership development. They found that after only 15 weeks of taking an introductory class to leadership, students reported significant gains in three important components of leadership: self-efficacy, or confidence in their ability to lead; skills; and motivation to lead.

Students in the class complete 10 to 12 self-assessments to learn where their own strengths and weaknesses as a leader lie. If students enter the course with low levels of self-efficacy - saying 'I don't really think of myself as a leader' or 'I'm not confident in my abilities' - they don't increase in being willing and able in 15 weeks, but they make big increases in readiness, said University of Illinois professor Kari Keating.

Students who come into the introductory class with leadership readiness saying, 'I've got this, I'm a leader' have a different learning experience. They become willing to lead people even when it's not a big resume builder, Keating said.

University of Illinois professor David Rosch said every semester a dozen students come back to him from job interviews in which they advanced because they were able to demonstrate and talk about leadership. The study was published in the Journal of Leadership Education.

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