Leadership and developmental scholars have highlighted the need to enhance youth leadership skills. Yet, research that explains youths’ perceptions of how and when role models influences their leadership growth processes is limited. To address these gaps and begin to develop an understanding of youths’ perspectives, we employed a qualitative, grounded theory design and interviewed emerging adults (N = 23) about their perceptions of their own leadership development. Our analysis resulted in a role model–driven framework for youth leadership development. This framework illustrates participants’ descriptions of the leadership growth process between adolescence and emerging adulthood, including the ways in which youths’ motivation to lead was facilitated by the qualities of relational role models, their knowledge of opportunities, the relational role models’ beliefs in youths potential, and the fact that they were inspired by positional role models.
- Emerging adults
- Leadership development
- Leadership growth
- Role models
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Sociology and Political Science