The new psychology of leadership and health: How leaders can promote workplace health by building social identity


Speaker:Prof Alex Haslam, University of Queensland
Date: Thursday 1 January 1970
Time: 14:30 - 15:30
Location: Building:One Syndicate Room B

Further details


Effective leadership lies at the heart of human progress and it is generally explained in terms of the personal qualities of leaders that set them apart from others — as superior, special, different. In contrast to this view, The New Psychology of Leadership argues that effective leadership is grounded in leaders’ capacity to embody and promote a social identity that they share with others. It argues that leadership is the product of individuals’ ‘we-ness’ rather than of their ‘I-ness’. 

This perspective forces us to see leadership not as a process that revolves around individuals acting and thinking in isolation, but as a group process in which leaders and followers are joined together — and perceive themselves to be joined together — in shared endeavour. Importantly too, when this occurs, The New Psychology of Health suggests that it should also promote health and well-being because shared social identity is a basis not only for social support but also for a sense of meaning, belonging, purpose, and agency — factors that have powerful consequences for psychological and social functioning.

In order for leadership to promote health, leaders therefore need to represent and champion the group and they also need to create and embed a sense of shared identity. This talk presents compelling evidence of these processes in action, and spells out implications for all-important issues of workplace practice.