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Whereas the predominance of leadership research has focused upon top-down influence processes, we examine the process of leading from the inside out, i.e., self-leadership. Based on a meta-analysis of 57 effect sizes and 16,493 observations, the overall results suggest that self-leadership is positively and strongly related to individual outcomes (ρ = .38). Results also help to clarify when self-leadership is most effective relative to outcome type, showing a stronger relationship between self-leadership and creativity/innovation than between self-leadership and task performance. We further explore the incremental value of cognitive self-leadership strategies over and above basic behavior-focused self-leadership. Our findings suggest that when individuals engage in cumulative self-leadership involving both behavioral and cognitive strategies, relationships with individual outcomes are stronger than when people employ behavior-focused self-leadership alone. Finally, we explore a meta-analytic path model examining mediating mechanisms to clarify not only how but also why self-leadership influences outcomes of interest. Implications regarding the nature and importance of the mechanisms through which self-leadership is linked to outcomes and future directions for further advancing self-leadership theory and research are delineated.

Available for download on Saturday, November 26, 2022