Although few scholars would dispute the point leaders must think, cognition has not, perhaps, received the attention it warrants in studies of leadership. The intent of the present special issue is to examine how cognition influences leader emergence and performance. In this introductory piece we argue that cognitive skills, often domain specific cognitive skills, strongly influence leader emergence and performance. The conditions that moderate the impact of these skills are also examined along with the ways in which cognitive capacities shape subsequent leader behavior. The implications of cognition for leader development and directions for future research are discussed.
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