Congratulations to Bryan Cutliff, a pivotal member of our US Division who has recently been awarded his Doctor of Psychology in Leadership Psychology. Bryan has brought a unique insight into leadership and the psychology of leading change to our team over recent years. Having worked previously in executive leadership positions in healthcare in the US, Bryan now supports a number of our clients across the US and Europe.
Bryan is in good company as S A Partners is also home to Dr. Keivan Zokaei, Dr. Toni Whitehead, Dr. Donna Samuels, and Dr. Fiona Buttrey – who make a difference every day to our clients with their in-depth knowledge and skills in their chosen fields.
The Doctor of Psychology in Leadership Psychology program at William James College is a 4-year program that explores a unique approach to understanding how individuals function as leaders and followers.
This area of study examines those who are leaders themselves, who are followers, and those who advise leaders. The goal is to understand the elements of being a great leader, how individuals transition between being a leader and a follower based on the situation in an organizational setting, and what behaviors generate a culture where engaged and innovative workers can thrive. Students who study leadership psychology believe that the way an individual performs as a leader influences the performance of their team and colleagues.
Bryan’s research focused on the antecedents of work engagement. Specifically, he wanted to understand what increases it and through what mechanism that relationship exists. His research led him to the construct of self-leadership.
Self-leadership refers to strategies individuals can deploy to develop a sense of competence, self-determination, and purpose. He hypothesized that self-leadership is positively related to and predicts one’s level of work engagement by increasing a person’s internal sense of hope, optimism, resilience, and self-efficacy (collectively known as psychological capital).
Through statistical analysis, Bryan found evidence that individuals who employed various self-leadership strategies were consistently more engaged in their work than those who did not. Additionally, these individuals were also found to appraise themselves as having more psychological capital. Organizational leaders could benefit from this research in that it presents an alternative view of how to impact work engagement.
Traditional engagement models have often focused on a positional leader’s ability to increase an employee’s level of engagement. However, work engagement is an internal and personal process, and the burden to improve one’s engagement is best kept with the individual. This research suggests that if organizations teach their employees how to deploy self-leadership strategies independently, their people will experience more work engagement and become more self-efficacious, resilient, optimistic, and hopeful.