Business Employees/Individual Contributors/Members/Adults
To determine if early recollections (ERs) can predict leadership traits as
well as existing instruments measuring leadership; that is, are ERs a valid technique in
The sample consisted of 15 men and 15 women. All participants
were Caucasian, born and raised in the U.S., middle-classed, college-educated, and held
positions that involved managing others for five or more years. They ranged in age from
38 to 58 years and their managerial experiences varied across disciplines and industries.
Each respondent was asked to submit in writing at least three childhood memories that
occurred before the age of ten. These were subsequently blindly scored by three raters
using Gushurst's methodology (1971). Respondents also completed the Leadership
Practices Inventory. In total 181 ERs were collected, 78 from males and 103 from
females, with an average of six per respondent.
Forty-six percent of the ERs contained one or more of the five
leadership practices. Males were somewhat more likely to provide ERs with leadership
practices than females (53% versus 42%), although no statistically significant differences
were found. Within these ERs, 234 leadership traits were identified, with Challenging
the practice most often found. When leadership practices were present in a memory, 58%
of the time it was likely to be Challenging the Process, with Modeling the next most
frequently mentioned (22%), followed by Enabling (13%), Inspiring (5%) and
No significant differences were found between males and females on the LPI.
Comparisons, by categorizing responses on the LPI and ERs into high, moderate, and low
groups, revealed an overlap in 37% of the respondents (N=11), which supports the null
hypothesis of no relationship between ERs and the LPI.