Exploring transformational leadership
Jolley, Sarah Elizabeth
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While leadership development programs have a variety of intended outcomes, personal transformation is a common outcome across most of these programs. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore the process of transformation through a leadership development experience and describe what transformation looks like for individuals who experience it and identify what elements of the leadership development experience contribute to that transformation. In-depth interviews with ten individuals revealed nine key themes in the transformation process: multiple experiences, quality of the experience, influence of curriculum and methodology, application of learning, experience of emotion, challenge and support from others, communication with others, recognition of self and others, and transformation of self and purpose. This qualitative study also sought to examine how a leadership development experience can contribute to an individual's motivation and ability to exercise leadership that is transformational and for the common good. These findings suggest that for a leadership development experience to do that, the experience should focus on: purpose - leadership for a purpose that is bigger than any individual's or group's self-interest; progress - making progress on issues as opposed to "solving" or "fixing" them, which may be nearly impossible for some intractable community issues; people - individuals need others to provide sufficient challenge and adequate support both during and following their leadership development experience if transformation is to occur; and practice - individuals need opportunities to practice applying what they learn in a safe environment, and the leadership development classroom can serve as an appropriate environment in which that practice can take place.
Thesis (Ph.D.)-- Wichita State University, Fairmount College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Dept. of Psychology