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This study explored the potential of a person × situation approach to identifying the characteristics of leaders in a voluntary community organization. A set of variables based on Mischel's “cognitive social learning variables” was operationalized to provide variables which assess the characteristics of individuals in relation to the specific context in which some emerge as leaders. This set of variables was compared with a larger set of traditional demographic and personality variables. Analyses indicated the approximate statistical comparability of the two sets. Advantages of the cognitive social learning approach for understanding and intervening in leader emergence and development in voluntary community organizations are discussed.