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Developing Leadership by Building Psychological Capital

Marian N. Ruderman and Cathleen Clerkin

Research Report, Center for Creative Leadership, 2015

For a PDF version of the complete paper, click here.

Introduction

Leadership development is essential to global competitiveness and corporate sustainability. Organizations often frame the development of leadership in terms of “competencies,” or the behavioral skills and areas of knowledge required by the business. However, focusing on competencies alone dismisses the key role that psychological resources play in leadership—especially in today’s fast-paced and uncertain global leadership environment.

The Center for Creative Leadership (CCL®) is currently exploring how to better address the challenges of today’s workplace by making the development of psychological resources such as resiliency and optimism an integral part of leadership training.

In this report, we share scientific findings from a recent CCL study examining conditions that cultivate psychological capital within CCL’s weeklong Leadership Development Program (LDP)®.

We found that LDP had positive effects on psychological capital, and that self-regulation techniques may boost psychological resources.

We also discuss what psychological capital is, why it’s an important leadership resource, and what leaders can do to boost their psychological capital and cultivate positive psychological resources.