The formation of leadership identity is a complicated process. This encourages people to make decisions that help them achieve their overall leadership objectives. It also represents the individual’s ideals, thoughts, behaviors, and feelings. The importance of leaders is hard to overestimate in almost every aspect of life – in politics, business, communal initiative, or even classroom group work. The key is to realize that developing a leadership identity entails taking on a leadership position and completing a task regardless of the circumstances.
Leadership identity is also influenced by how you see connections inside your own department and with internal and external business partners and customers. Making necessary decisions is also part of the leadership identity (Stets & Burke, 2000). Being a leader necessitates renouncing the “business as usual” strategy (Haslam et al., 2020). The energy in front of the audience, the attitude, the degree of inventiveness, and the overall presence all contribute to a continually evolving leadership personality. How you brand and sell yourself is another important component of your leadership persona. Being mindful of your activities – with coworkers, direct reports, and top management – is a vital part of creating a leadership identity (Haslam et al., 2020). The ability to think like a leader is the turning point in the development of a leadership identity (Komives et al., 2005). Every choice, from corporate strategy to leadership style, team building, and culture, is influenced by mindset, while the atmosphere in which a person can develop and thrive is created by thinking.
A crucial point of developing a leadership identity is the creation of an action plan consistent with several stages of leadership development. According to several studies, the leadership identity is developed through six consecutive stages (Komives et al., 2005). In my action plan, I will be consistent with them as well. The first stage entails the realization of the desire to be a leader through interactions within different social groups (Komives et al., 2005). For example, it can be made through conversation with peers, family, and colleagues. Nowadays, there are also many seminars and workshops available in order to get engaged with similar-minded people. The combination of these two variables, I think, will work well for constructing the leadership identity. Secondly, exploration, where the main involvement in the leader role takes place. It is particularly important since taking the initiative is one of the main leadership traits. This can be an out-of-classroom activity or communal initiative, which are numerously available nowadays. Identification of the leader is another important step, legitimizing the leader’s position, thus delegating him official privileges and the responsibility to represent the group. Taking center stage can occur either in the classroom or communal setting as well.
The most important milestones in the development of the action plan are the following, where the identified leader must go through the process of differentiation and evaluation of the larger purpose of the group. He is responsible for the course of action and the well-being of his subordinate. Establishing cooperation, maintaining enthusiasm, and shaping a group’s culture is crucial to becoming a true leader (Komives et al., 2005). Finally, the complete integration marks the synthesis between the engagement of the leadership actions regularly, thus completing the cycle of the building of the leadership identity.
Building a leadership identity is not an easy task. It has a lot of challenges and downturns. My action plan builds on the understanding that leadership is essentially a collaborative process. That is the primary reason for highlighting the last three parts of the action plan – unless a leader does not reflect it, his or her centric leadership will not benefit the group as a whole.
Haslam, S. A., Reicher, S. D., & Platow, M. J. (2020). The new psychology of leadership: Identity, influence, and power. Routledge.
Komives, S. R., Owen, J. E., Longerbeam, S. D., Mainella, F. C., & Osteen, L. (2005). Developing a leadership identity: A grounded theory. Journal of College Student Development, 46(6), 593-611.
Stets, J. E., & Burke, P. J. (2000). Identity theory and social identity theory. Social psychology quarterly, 224-237.