In Search of Authentic Peer Leaders: Finding, Nurturing, and Affirming

Tim O. Peterson, Shontarius D. Aikens, Martha L. Loudder


Luthans and Avolio (2003) have posited that we need methods to develop authentic leaders. One method is to form learning communities on college campuses. Within these communities, peer leaders influence the development of newly admitted peers. The question is: why do some students become peer leaders and others do not? We believe that the answer lies somewhere in their core values. By the time people enter college, they are predisposed to value certain end-states and modes of conduct. Therefore, it is important to determine these predispositions so that leadership development opportunities such as peer leadership can be made available to those who are ready for this type of development. However, at this point we do not know which core values make a difference. This gap in the knowledge is what led to this study. The findings identify the core values of both peer leaders and non-peer leaders. In most cases, these values are the same for both groups. However, the core value of a sense of accomplishment stands out as being significant in determining who will select this type of leadership development opportunity. The paper expands on how to find, nurture, and affirm these select students.

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Copyright (c) 2020 Tim O. Peterson, Shontarius D. Aikens, Martha L. Loudder

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