Developmental Leadership: What it is, why it matters, and how it can be supported
David Hudson, Claire Mcloughlin, Chris Roche, Heather Marquette
This brief highlights key points from DLP's 10-year synthesis report, Inside the Black Box of Political Will. It explains 'developmental leadership' as the strategic, collective and political process of building political will to make positive change happen.
Developmental leadership relies on three elements:
- First, it relies on motivated and strategic individuals with the incentives, values, interests and opportunity to push for change.
- Second, these motivated people must overcome barriers to cooperation and form coalitions with sufficient power, legitimacy and influence.
- Third, coalitions’ power and effectiveness partly hinges on their ability to contest and de-legitimise one set of ideas and legitimise an alternative set.
Through this process of contestation, leaders and coalitions challenge, subvert and reformulate society’s rules in ways that are perceived as locally legitimate and sustainable. The process of developmental leadership can be carefully supported from outside if agencies work in politically informed ways, such as by facilitating effective coalitions and navigating the politics of legitimacy.
See also the blog post Where does political will come from? (Claire Mcloughlin and David Hudson, From Poverty to Power, 2 March 2018)
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Professor of Politics and Development, University of Birmingham, and Director, Developmental Leadership Program
Lecturer in Political Sociology, University of Birmingham, and Deputy Director (Research), Developmental Leadership Program
Professor of Development Practice and Director of the Institute of Human Security and Social Change, La Trobe University, and Deputy Director (Impact), Developmental Leadership Program
Heather MarquetteView author profile
Developmental Leadership: What it is, why it matters, and how it can be supportedDownload document