Am I a leader? Examining leader identity development over time

Darja Miscenko, Hannes Guenter, David V. Day

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Citations (Scopus)


The extent to which someone thinks of him- or herself as a leader (i.e., leader identity) is subject to change in a dynamic manner because of experience and structured intervention, but is rarely studied as such. In this study, we map the trajectories of leader identity development over a course of a seven-week leader development program. Drawing upon identity theory (Kegan, 1983) and self-perception theory (Bem, 1972), we propose that changes in self-perceived leadership skills are associated with changes in leader identity. Using latent growth curve modeling and latent change score analyses as our primary analytical approaches, we analyzed longitudinal data across seven measurement points (N = 98). We find leader identity to develop in a J-shaped pattern. As hypothesized, we find that these changes in leader identity are associated with, and potentially shaped by, changes in leadership skills across time.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)605-620
Number of pages16
JournalLeadership Quarterly
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2017


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