24th May 2019

New video: What is developmental leadership? 10 years of research summarised in new 3 minute video

Kyle Smith, David Hudson

Leadership for development taken from Unsplash, 2019
Image: Leadership for development taken from Unsplash, 2019

Watch our new animation here

Development and change takes more than a leader – it takes organisation, politics, a network and a voice. Political will alone is not enough.

Follow Teuila’s journey in creating change. By working with a diverse group of individuals and organisations from across the community, navigating their differences, Tuila shows that politics is truly the way change happens and not the obstacle.

Is it enough for leaders to have the power, motivation and skills to create change and provide the foundations for society’s development? And is it enough for others to just call for a bit more ‘political will’?

Ten years of DLP research suggests not. Instead it is the interconnected processes that let motivated individuals like Teuila that are part of overcoming barriers to working together by successfully forming coalitions to contest the ideas underpinning the status-quo. Leaders and their followers are critical in providing an alternative vision in order to promote positive change.

Communities everywhere face challenges – limited resources, absent teachers or domestic violence – and look to local leaders to make a difference. This video illustrates the importance of collaboration and contestation from everyone in the community and leadership to create change across three important levels:

  • Individual
  • Collective
  • Societal

And, if wisely done, others can support leaders in this process, as long as they are careful not to undermine their legitimacy, for example by providing safe spaces for coalitions to form and discuss ideas. When communities and leaders are able work together and work through their differences together, contesting their future, there is a greater chance that change will happen.

If you want to make a difference in your community watch, share and comment to help deliver the information to local actors who can make significant changes to local leadership.

To watch Teuila's journey and for more videos, visit and subscribe to the DLP Youtube Channel.



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Kyle Smith

Kyle Smith

Former Communications Manager, Developmental Leadership Program, University of Birmingham

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David Hudson

David Hudson

Professor of Politics and Development, University of Birmingham, and Director, Developmental Leadership Program

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