The New Psychology of Leadership

A fascinating insight into the future of leadership and collective action!

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During my first week of research, I spent a great amount of time reading The New Psychology of Leadership a book by S. Alexander Haslam, Stephen D. Reicher and Michael J. Platow. I was first drawn to it because of its pertinence to my research on how we can harness social identity to make meaningful progress on climate change. However, given the insights the book provides on leadership, in general, I thought I should share it with the Laidlaw community.

If you have the time, I would recommend reading it, but since I'm aware that we're all busy with research and other commitments I've summarised the four main takeaways here!

  1. Great leaders have to be prototypical of the group they lead. What this means is that they have to be part of the "in-group" and represent both physically and rhetorically all of the values and facets that are important to that group. So in my research, for example, it demonstrates that getting white-collar city-siders to try and lead climate action in regional areas is futile. Instead, leaders should be local and not just someone that the group can relate to, but someone that members of the group aspire to be.
  2. Leaders have to promote the interests of the in-group and not just themselves. Interestingly it's been shown that when leaders actively promote the interests of the in-group over the out-group they garner greater support.
  3. Leaders have to be entrepreneurs of identity and work creatively with the group's identity to make sure it aligns with their agenda.
  4. Leaders have to make us feel like we matter, and they have to materialise a world in which the group's values are lived out and fulfilled.

I hope you found this useful, and I'd love to chat with anyone who is interested or wants to learn more!




Charlie Rogers (she/her)

Student, University of St Andrews

Hi! My name is Charlie I’m born and raised in Australia but am currently doing my bachelor’s degree in the UK at the University of St Andrews studying International Relations and Psychology. During my time at university, I have also studied Arabic and Italian and in the future, I would love to work in political psychology helping to develop human rights, and climate action policy and campaigns. My research project is, therefore, looking at social identity and climate change reform as I aim to investigate how environmentalism is represented and the extent to which it encourages or marginalises groups from collective action. So if you are also working on something like this or know an expert in the field please get in touch, I would love to hear from you! I'm a diligent worker and have worked in a variety of positions in hospitality, environmentalism, and communications. This includes being a public speaking and debating coach, a legal administrative assistant and a research assistant at Licella, a renewable energies firm. I am passionate about the environment and protecting our planet and love spending time in the outdoors. In my free time, I enjoy cooking and inventing new recipes! My friends describe me as a bit of an amateur chef but otherwise, I love being active and sail competitively for my University team as well as surfing when I'm at home. I would describe myself as adventurous, extroverted, pro-active and open-minded. Having done a fair amount of solo travelling in the past I am capable of being independent and self-sufficient, however, I thrive in groups and love learning from other people’s experiences and expertise.