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Developmental readiness and leadership development in medicine
  1. Anurag Saxena,
  2. Loni Desanghere,
  3. Palak Suryavanshi
  1. College of Medicine, St Andrew’s College, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Dr Anurag Saxena, College of Medicine, St Andrew’s College, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK S7N 0W3, Canada; anurag.saxena{at}


Purpose Leadership is a key competency for physicians. Based on the premise that not everyone benefits equally from leadership development programmes, the leader developmental readiness (LDR; ability and motivation to develop) construct has been proposed to account for the differences. The purpose of this project was to explore the relationship between LDR, leadership experience, leader behaviours and leader efficacy in medical learners.

Method Survey data from 46 medical learners were collected in 2015–2016. Separate one-way analysis of variances, with between-group factors of leadership experience (<12 months, >12 months, 0 month), were carried out on LDR constructs of ability and motivation using five validated measures: motivation to lead, goal orientation, developmental efficacy, self-awareness and metacognitive ability. Spearman’s rank-order correlations were used to examine the relationship between LDR and experience with leader efficacy and leadership behaviours (transformational and transactional). Statistical significance was determined at p<0.05. Bonferroni corrections were applied for any multiple comparisons.

Results Significant main effects were observed for both ability and motivation to develop, showing lower scores on these variables for individuals with less leadership experience. Both experience and LDR constructs (motivation and ability) were shown to be significantly positively associated with transformational leadership behaviour (and not transactional leadership behaviour). The LDR constructs, but not leadership experience, were significantly positively associated with leader efficacy.

Conclusions The positive correlation between LDR, experience, and transformational leadership behaviours and between LDR and leader efficacy is of value in leadership development. Understanding the developmental readiness of learners and how this affects leadership development is paramount to better inform personal leadership development and structure leadership development programmes for medical learners and physicians.

  • medical leadership
  • development
  • competencies
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  • Contributors AS conceived and planned this work and was involved in all stages of this study and takes responsibility for the overall content as guarantor. LD and PS were involved in the conduct of the study and reporting the work. All authors contributed to the preparation and editing of this article. AS made the major revisions and LD prepared the final draft. LD did the initial submission.

  • Funding The undergraduate part of this study was funded by the College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan, ’Dean’s Summer Research Project'.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Ethics approval This research was approved by the Behavioral Research Ethics Board at the University of Saskatchewan.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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