This paper reviews current thinking on organizational leadership generally and academic leadership in particular. In the past quarter-century, views about the essence of leadership have shifted from a hierarchical view that leadership flows from a leadership position to a much more lateral view that leadership roles are available to everyone. Recent research on leadership in higher education largely mirrors the more general leadership literature: significantly more attention is now being paid to collective, context-dependent, and relational approaches. The higher education leader drawn to these new models is, however, also pulled in the opposite direction, toward an increasingly managerial culture requiring greater managerial expertise. Academic leaders are thus faced with unique challenges. Resolving them will require the academic leader to: balance lateral with administrative leadership, encourage cultures of reflection in their academic units, and recognize and take advantage of the power of networks.
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