The Frontiers of Integrative Leadership

Sept. 4, 2013
group of people

At the Eller College of Management, we have the opportunity to pioneer a new approach to leading that we call Integrative Leadership. In the 1970s we developed the first management information systems program in the country. In the 1980s we launched an entrepreneurship program that was one of the first of its kind. Our innovations have continued over the decades. Now we are continuing this tradition with a new leadership model for the 21st century.

The demands on leaders have never been greater with near constant electronic communication, public attention, and pressures to generate immediate results. As a result, leader burnout, turnover, and health problems are on the rise. At the same time, the workforce is becoming less healthy and organizations are facing spiraling health care costs. We see these problems as connected and see a need to create integrative solutions.

At the University of Arizona, Dr Andrew Weil and his colleagues have developed a new approach to health through integrative medicine. By combining both Eastern and Western medicine, they argue that the whole person must be examined to understand diseases and the solutions must come from both patients and their providers.

We build on this model and suggest that integrative leadership is the combination of business objectives and lifestyle objectives. Healthy workers are more productive workers. Healthy organizations are more effective organizations. And the leader is critical in bringing these connections together. Through policies, messaging, and role modeling, integrative leaders have the opportunity to generate wins for their organizations, their employees, themselves, and their families.

This is a work in progress. We are developing ideas, conducting research, and identifying strategic benefits of integrative leadership. This blog space will serve as a launch pad for many of these ideas. We welcome you along on this journey!

Image courtesy of Pixabay