‘Keeping it real’ authentic instructor-leadership, student engagement and performance, and leader distance

  • Paul T. Balwant
  • International Journal of Leadership in Education, September 2019, Taylor & Francis
  • DOI: 10.1080/13603124.2019.1657593

Authentic leadership in higher education teaching

Photo by Vasily Koloda on Unsplash

Photo by Vasily Koloda on Unsplash

What is it about?

Authentic leadership is well established in the corporate context, but does it also work in a higher education classroom context? This paper shows that such leadership may influence student engagement in both very close and very far distant conditions. Interestingly, and unexpectedly, low frequency of interactions better facilitates the effect of authentic leadership on academic performance.

Why is it important?

The present study shifts the focus away from romanticized notions of instructor-leadership toward a morally focused approach. In so doing, the study adds to the general leadership field by investigating a novel mediator and moderator in the relationship between authentic leadership and follower performance.


Dr. Paul T. Balwant
University of the West Indies

It is interesting to observe how leader distance moderates the potential impact of authentic leadership on follower outcomes. What stood out to me is more frequent interactions may actually promote 'helicopter' teaching in which students' independence is replaced by a sort of 'coddling'.

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The following have contributed to this page: Dr. Paul T. Balwant