Allen Jackson Laura Gaudet Larry McDaniel Don Watt

Abstract

The educational process in higher education is much more than just the presentation of a discipline to a group of learners. Leaders in higher education are responsible to students to conduct themselves as educational leaders. Sensible leadership depends upon a variety of factors such as flexible behavior; an ability to identify specific behaviors needed at a particular time, and the ability to incorporate such behaviors at the appropriate time (Wilcox, 1997). A basic understanding of the supervisory behavioral continuum is important to the development of effective leadership skills. The continuum, adapted for use in the educational process, includes ten specific behaviors: listening, clarifying, encouraging, reflecting, presenting, problem-solving, negotiating, directing, standardizing, and reinforcing. Each behavior is clustered into the sub-groups of directive, directive informational, collaborative, and nondirective. To be an effective leader one must have the ability to engage in all aspects of this continuum. To be effective in the college or university classroom, the instructor must have the knowledge about knowing when, why, and with whom to engage. Although one may have a preference or supervisory philosophy which indicates a personal preference to supervision and instruction, an understanding of the supervisory continuum is fundamental to the overall success of passing the role of leadership on to the next generation of learners.

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