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Clark Patrick Heard, D.OT Reg. (Ont.)


Leadership is vital to the success and sustainability of any group, organization, or profession. Using a qualitative phenomenological methodology, consistent with interpretative phenomenological analysis, this study examines why occupational therapists choose the path of leadership. Data was collected through the completion of semistructured interviews with 10 occupational therapy leaders in Ontario, Canada. This collected data was transcribed verbatim and coded for themes by multiple coders. Several methods were employed to establish trustworthiness. Results identify that a desire to influence the profession or care delivery, a need for personal or career development, and a need for change motivate those occupational therapists who might choose the path of leadership. Recommendations for supporting new or developing leaders include a focus on linking occupational therapy practice and leadership theory at the curriculum and professional levels. Moreover, application of novel approaches to mentorship for new and developing leaders, such as supportive communities of practice, are also considered.