Exploring The Developmental Potential Of Leader-Follower Interactions: A Constructive-Developmental Approach

Sorin Valcea, Cleveland State University
Maria R. Hamdani, University of Akron
M. R. Buckley, University of Oklahoma
Milorad M. Novicevic, University of Mississippi


Researchers in leadership have long recognized the important role of leaders in developing the competencies of followers.More recently, however, scholars have begun to emphasize the pivotal role of followers in the development of leaders.We use constructive developmental theory (e.g., Kegan, 1982; Loevinger & Blasi, 1976) to suggest that both leaders and followers influence the development of the meaningmaking systems of their counterparts in leader–follower dyads. We argue that a combination of challenge – in the formof delegation, participation, and feedback – and support – in the form of positive leader–follower relationships – works to promote the development ofmore complex meaningmaking systems in leaders and followers, thus enriching both individuals in the dyad.