“Not the same kind of leaders”: Four young children’s unique ways of influencing others

Seung Yeon Lee, Susan L. Recchia, Min Sun Shin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


This qualitative multi-case study explored four young leaders’ idiosyncratic leadership styles manifested within the context of their classrooms (toddler and preschool). In order to gain a deeper understanding of the complexity and variety of early childhood leadership and provide holistic descriptions of young leaders’ emerging leadership behaviors, the data were collected through teacher interviews and two kinds of observations (natural observations and videotaped observations) in a university-affiliated child care center. Although there were some common characteristics across all four young leaders, each of the young leaders was quite unique in his or her leadership characteristics and ways of enacting leadership in the classroom. Interestingly, each of them also was quite powerful in his or her particular way. Findings also suggested that differences in age group and classroom dynamics influenced children’s enactment of leadership and responses from others in their respective classrooms. Recognizing individual differences in young children’s leadership styles and strengths, this study encourages educators and researchers to broaden their perspectives and assumptions about early childhood leadership and young leaders, and to create classroom environments that support the emergence of different leadership styles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)132-148
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Research in Childhood Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 2005


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