June 24, 2009

Question: what research is there on how to lead people effectively?

I am asking for help with this: what empirical research is there on how effective leadership works? I am particularly interested in finding research on situations in which managers/leaders direct people (making expectations clear, posing limits etcetera). I am hoping to find information on what conversation skills prove to work in those kinds of situations.


  1. I don't know about empirical research on this but, from my stumbling through this field I can point to:

    Psychology 1508 : The Psychology of Leadership
    and Leadership Initiative

    Also, Seth Godin's book "Tribes" might provide some interesting perspectives.

    Another approach would be to look into the psychological predisposition of certain people towards certain types of leadership. You can lead through various ways: inspiring people, strong hand, control, strength, determination, etc.
    Contrast for example the way of Winston Churchill with the way of Gandhi or Martin Luther King Jr.

    Although apparently unrelated, I would also like to add 2 more pointers:
    Wisdom: 50 Unique and Original Portraits

  2. Hi Peter,

    Thank you for the interestng links, in particular this one: http://isites.harvard.edu/fs/docs/icb.topic134221.files/1508-Readings-Modified.htm.

    Should you come accross empirical research on management or leadership effectiveness, I'd love to hear

    all the best,

  3. Sure, the psychology 1508 is on my list to study right after finishing 1504 :)
    If I find something interesting, I'll let you know.

  4. In a shameless "commercial" post, here is what I found that it is reasonably supported by research and that I teach in my workshop because it resonates well with SF: http://www.briefcoachingsolutions.com/effective-leadership/

  5. thanks paolo, some of the titles on the wikipedia page looks interesting


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