Prosocial Leadership 

 The prosocial leadership development process is based on eight years of research on emerging leaders. The study followed 450 emerging leaders as they endeavored to develop their own personal leadership.

research observed that those who develop into prosocial leaders pass through four stages of individual development. These four stages emerged based on the observation of individuals in their personal journey of prosocial leadership development.  Each of the four stages has specific steps that individuals took (not included below in the description) which act as a guide for future developing prosocial leaders. Below is a general description of the four stages of leadership development. There was also a secondary study on organizational leaders of social ventures which revealed a secondary process complementing the one outlined below,  although the second development process is not described below.  


  • Stage One: The "Awareness and Empathetic Concern " stage happens when the emerging leader looks back into their past and selects those events where they experienced empathy. These past events create in the emerging leader a desire to become a person who cares for others, as they received care in their past. The desire for becoming an empathetic person who serves others results in personal developmental goals. 

  • Stage Two: The “Community and Group Commitment ” stage occurs when the emerging leader realizes their personal goals to care for others will need to be carried out within a group they are committed to serving. The emerging leader is either a member of the group or not a member of the group.  Both present challenges, but in either case, the leader must modify their goals to include both their personal goals and group goals. The individual in this stage begins to become aware of the role of altruism, since they may need to give-up some or all of their personal development goals. 

  • Stage Three:The “Courage and Action ” stage occurs when the individual feels vulnerable, yet must find the courage to act and help others.  The emerging leader realizes that the help they intend to provide is no longer in their mind, and their thoughts demand action. When they act altruistically, they begin to understand the importance action has for both simultaneously growing themselves and others.  

  • Stage Four:   The “Reflection and Growth ” stage occurs when the individual is mindful of their own growth and realizes that this growth happened from the process of awareness of empathy, community commitment, courageous action, and because of this have personally grown from the process, thus  they commit to future service to others.  

While these four stages apply to both emerging prosocial leaders and established prosocial organizational leaders, in the organizational leader adds two steps to the process, which is outlined in organizational training section

The Prosocial Leadership

Development Process 

"The root of happiness is altruism - the wish to be of service to others."

Dalai Lama (Lecture in Harvard, 1988)

Understanding Prosocial Leadership

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