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September 26, 2013

Leadership & Integrative Learning

by Angel Pumila

Theories of Leadership & Integrative Learning

The complex set of characteristics and adaptations needed to be a leader have been evaluated by psychologists and educational theorists since the 1930s (Williams, 2006). Through their research, certain traits that make up the components of a leader have been identified as social intelligence, behavioral flexibility, need for power, energy, cognitive complexity, and persuasiveness (Zaccaro, 2001). These traits contribute to the overall qualities needed to lead in an organizational setting. Leaders influence others in effective behavioral delegation to accomplish necessary task completion by others in order to reach a set goal.

Two factors have emerged that define the focus of leadership: being task focused and relationship focused (Williams, 2006). By valuing followers and demonstrating appreciation for their contributions to the task they are being led to complete, leaders create an atmosphere in which projects goals are obtained. These traits are emphasized again when observed in a school setting. According to Oyinlade (2003), effective leadership fits better in educational settings when the leader shows more people-oriented traits than a job-centered focus. The value placed upon the individual follower establishes a setting in which the follower achieves for the intrinsic motivation satisfied through appreciation and appraisal.

Behavior theories focus on “leader behaviors and differed dramatically from the trait approach—moving leadership conceptualization from what a leader is to what a leader does” (Williams, 2006). By observing the actions of a leader, researchers can identify specific behaviors needed to reach organizational goals. While behavioral models provide valuable information on the actions needed to lead, they deemphasize the importance of cognition and motivation.

In relation to integrative learning, leaders are needed to create the setting in which concepts and diversity are blended. They are at the head of the class presenting new knowledge while creating an open setting for insertion of situational experience and application from students. Looking back to the traits and motivational techniques required for such an experience, one can agree that this position takes cognitive complexity, behavioral flexibility and an appreciation for the opinions and experiences of student followers.



Oyinlade, A., Gellhaus, M., & Darboe, K. (2003). Essential behavioral qualities for effective leadership in schools for students who are visually impaired: A national study. Journal Of Visual Impairment & Blindness, 97(7), 389-402.

Williams, F., Ricciardi, D., & Blackbourn, R. (2006). Theories of Leadership. Encyclopedia of Educational Leadership and Administration. Vol. 2. 586-592. Sage Publications, Inc.

Zaccaro, S. J. (2001). Behavioral complexity theories of executive leadership: Empirical review and evaluation. In , The nature of executive leadership: A conceptual and empirical analysis of success (pp. 149-171). Washington, DC US: American Psychological Association. doi:10.1037/10398-005


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