What Are Good Leaders Made Of? Finnish School Children’s Descriptions of Leadership

Sanna Hyvärinen, Satu Uusiautti, Kaarina Määttä

Abstract


The purpose of this research was to analyze Finnish students’ descriptions of good leaders and leadership. The study had two research questions: (1) What kinds of characteristics does a good leader have according to Finnish students’ perceptions and (2) how do the students describe the emphases of leadership activities? This was a qualitative study that applied the narrative research approach. The data consisted of essays written by 38 sixth-graders from one Finnish school. The data collection method used empathy-based frame stories to prompt essays. The main characteristics of a good leader were friendliness, diligence and enthusiasm, and deliberation and determination. Three emphases in leadership activities could be found in the essays: decision-making and responsibility for results, caring, and enjoyment of the leader’s work. The study contributes new viewpoints to the authentic leadership theory and less studied perspectives in the field of leadership studies in general.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5296/jse.v7i4.12200

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