Steward leadership: A maturational perspective


Kurt April
University of Cape Town
Julia Kukard
Kai Peters
Ashridge Business School


Steward Leadership is a form of leadership which focuses on others, the community and society at large, rather than the self. Many senior leaders and executives across the globe appear to move into a steward leadership mindset when their careers have matured, or when they are in the second half of their life- or career cycles, whereas executives of around 30 years old are typically focused on their personal self-interests.

The authors of Steward leadership: A maturational perspective, who teach MBA and executive courses around the world, conducted research into the aspects of steward leadership to see if they could develop the tools to mould steward leaders at an earlier age. Working with MBA students, they tested nine stewardship attributes: personal vision, personal mastery, vulnerability and maturity, risk-taking and experimentation, mentoring, raising awareness, shared vision, valuing diversity and delivering results. The authors also interviewed industry leaders internationally to gain qualitative insights into the concept of steward leadership.

The result is a practical framework for steward leadership which provides the theoretical and consulting tools with which organisations can develop stewards, whether through training programmes, mentoring programmes, coaching initiatives and/or personal development practices. The authors present steward leadership as a more viable alternative to current leadership concepts, providing a roadmap by which current and potential leaders can be guided into developing their leadership abilities – and become the mature stewards of the future.


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2 August 2022


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