Leadership Development: A Senior Leader Case Study

Jason M. Newcomer, Walden University
Sandy L. Kolberg, Walden University
Jon M. Corey, Walden University


The current case study explores the lack of qualitative analyses of the US Air Force’s development-team process. It surveys development teams at the Air Force in Washington, DC, to determine how effectively their processes identify, select, and/or develop leaders who meet the strategic needs of the service. Fourteen teams completed anonymous online questionnaires during data collection. Data were analyzed, coded, and grouped into themes. The development teams’ process produced leaders to meet the strategic needs of the service, and the program’s objectives aligned with national strategy. Two negative findings generated recommendations: (1) the teams’ ability to assess past decisions needs reevaluation and (2) a lack of standardization exists among the teams. The implications for social change are enhanced leadership development for the service and creation of a leadership-assessment model that any organization, private or public, can use. Improved leadership can allow the service to better posture itself to protect the United States and to conduct humanitarian-relief efforts. Reproduced by permission from the Air & Space Power Journal.