Prosocial Leadership 

Exemplars of  Prosocial Leadership


While we want leaders to be ethical, there are many historical examples of leaders who were unethical.   The classic example is Hitler, whose leadership resulted in horrific and inhumane outcomes, but ironically one widely used definition of leadership which states, “Leadership is a process whereby an individual,  influences a group of individuals to achieve a common goal” [1].  This conundrum is referred to as the “Hitler problem” within leadership ethics studies – unethical leaders are still considered leaders [2].   

Alternatively, there are also numerous examples of leaders who acted prosocially, responding out of the empathy they felt for someone in need, not caring if they were going to be rewarded for helping, or get punished if they didn’t, at personal cost they helped the other in need and in doing so acted altruistically – they were prosocial leaders. 

If those who can be considered Prosocial Leaders were put on one list, it would be a very long list.  Below is a short list of Prosocial Leaders. This list is being added to and updated on the website frequently.  Please feel free to send your personal stories of prosocial leaders you know personally, or admire from afar.  Send them into (send in your suggestions with a story).  The submissions should be about 300 words and include an additional resource information. Your name will be included with each submission.

Prosocial Leaders List


[1] Northouse, P. G. (2015). Leadership: Theory and practice. Sage publications. p.5
[2] Ciulla, J. B. (2005). The state of leadership ethics and the work that lies before us. Business Ethics: A European Review, 14(4), 323-335.

Understanding Prosocial Leadership

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