Understanding the Leaders of Tomorrow: The Need to Study Leadership in Adolescence

Jennifer L. Tackett*, Kathleen Wade Reardon, Nathanael J. Fast, Lars Johnson, Sonia K. Kang, Jonas W.B. Lang, Frederick L. Oswald

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Leadership traits and behaviors are observed early in human development, and although an improved understanding of youth leadership would usefully inform many real-world contexts (e.g., education, parenting, policy), most empirical work on leadership has been limited to adult populations. The purpose of the current article is to add a developmental perspective to leadership research that has so far been absent. Here, we (a) highlight adolescence as a critical developmental period for leadership emergence and development, (b) argue that leadership among youths is poorly understood and critically understudied, (c) provide exemplars of synergy between research on leadership and adolescent development that are ripe for focused inquiry, and (d) underscore some of the positive consequences of accelerating empirical research on leadership in adolescence, including implications for a deeper understanding of leadership in adult working populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)829-842
Number of pages14
JournalPerspectives on Psychological Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2023


  • adolescence
  • leadership development
  • leadership intervention
  • personality development
  • youth leadership

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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