Authentic leadership theory posits that the authenticity of leaders and followers is influenced by their personal histories. Attachment theory states that individuals have internal working models that are influenced by both early developmental experiences and relationships later in life. These models guide how people interact with close others and tend toward three styles of attachment: secure insecure-ambivalent and insecure-avoidant. We argue that securely attached persons are most likely to exhibit authentic leadership/followership. We review empirical work which suggests that secure attachment is positively related to each of the four components of authentic leadership/followership (self-awareness relational transparency balanced processing
and internalized moral perspective).We then develop an attachment-based typology for variations in authentic leader–follower relationships with emphasis on relationships that include an insecurely attached party. Finally we draw from the attachment and authentic leadership literatures to suggest interventions to foster the development of authentic leadership/followership thereby enhancing authentic leader–follower relationships.
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