Physicians frequently occupy leadership roles, yet training in leadership development in the medical education continuum is scarce (Angood, 2015; Dhaliwali & Sehgal, 2014; Rotenstein et al., 2018; Varkey et al., 2009). Effective leadership training can guide physician-trainees on a journey toward self- and others- awareness and management utilizing emotional intelligence (Goleman, 2006), integrity, authenticity (Erhard et al., 2010; George, 2003; Snook et al., 2012), communication, teamwork (Hackman, 2012; Larson & LaFasto, 1989), change management (Kotter, 1995; 2012), and systems thinking (Senge, 2006). The call to enhance leadership development of physicians across their education continuum is unmistakable (Blumenthal et al., 2012, Bronson & Ellison, 2015; Onyura et al., 2019; Rotenstein et al., 2018; Sadowski, 2018; Torres-Landa et al., 2021; Varkey et al., 2009). However, intentionally designed longitudinal leadership courses are rarely available in the graduate medical education continuum (Torres-Landa et al., 2021).

This study explores the development of transformational leadership (Bass, 1999; Bass & Avolio, 1993) in physician-trainees. The Becoming A Leader (BAL) course offers trainees the opportunity to learn to exercise leadership effectively (Erhard et al., 2010). The qualitative design of the study utilizes secondary narrative data with Bass’ (1999) transformational leadership model as the theoretical framework. Research questions sought resident descriptions of individualized consideration, intellectual stimulation, inspirational motivation, and idealized influence (Antonakis, 2012; Avolio & Bass, 1991; Bass & Riggio, 2006). Source documents included de-identified pre-existing written perspectives collected from residents throughout and after participation in a year-long course.

Data analysis captured rich descriptions. Residents described individualized consideration for themselves and others through the subthemes of self-awareness, self-management, others-awareness and others-management. Second, intellectual stimulation included factors such as being open-minded, challenging your own and others’ beliefs, and encouraging better team performance. Third, residents described their experience with inspirational motivation through the subthemes of simple messaging, a commitment to a shared vision, and the practice of fostering community. Finally, residents described idealized influence through effective role modeling, the importance of taking responsibility, and giving praise. The results of this study indicate that longitudinal leadership training during residency, with frequent self-reflection, can be effective for developing core leadership principles.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Leadership; Training; Residents (Medicine)

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Laura Hyatt