What is the difference between best practices and competencies in clinical supervision?

  

250 words
After reviewing the readings for this unit on clinical supervision, and recalling the previous readings on transformational leadership, identify a situation in your social work practice where some aspect of diversity has been present between a supervisor and supervisee.

Describe the situation.
Identify a minimum of two techniques that could be used in the situation.
Describe how you, as a supervisor, would use the techniques with the supervisee.
Describe how transformational leadership skills could be used in the situation
Best Practices in Clinical Supervision: Another Step
in Delineating Effective Supervision Practice
Borders, L DiAnne

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ABSTRACT

Across the helping professions, we have arrived at a point where it is possible to create statements of best practices
in supervision that are based on available empirical research; credentialing, ethical, and legal guidelines; and
consensus opinion. Best practices are different from, but certainly complementary to, statements of supervision
competencies. In this paper, I highlight the differences between competencies and best practices, and then describe
the development and content of one comprehensive statement, the Best Practices in Clinical Supervision created for
the field of counseling and counselor education. I then illustrate the applicability of the Best Practices across
disciplines and countries through a comparison and contrast with several other existing documents. I conclude with
a brief look at the development of supervisor expertise, which requires not only declarative knowledge
(competencies) and procedural knowledge (statements of best practices), but also reflective knowledge. The latter is
composed of insights built over years of supervision education, experience, and self-reflection regarding necessary
adaptions and improvisations that inform an individualized approach to supervision practice.

FULL TEXT

Headnote
Across the helping professions, we have arrived at a point where it is possible to create statements of best practices
in supervision that are based on available empirical research; credentialing, ethical, and legal guidelines; and
consensus opinion. Best practices are different from, but certainly complementary to, statements of supervision
competencies. In this paper, I highlight the differences between competencies and best practices, and then describe
the development and content of one comprehensive statement, the Best Practices in Clinical Supervision created for
the field of counseling and counselor education. I then illustrate the applicability of the Best Practices across
disciplines and countries through a comparison and contrast with several other existing documents. I conclude with
a brief look at the development of supervisor expertise, which requires not only declarative knowledge
(competencies) and procedural knowledge (statements of best practices), but also reflective knowledge. The latter is
composed of insights built over years of supervision education, experience, and self-reflection regarding necessary
adaptions and improvisations that inform an individualized approach to supervision practice.
KEYWORDS: supervision; clinical supervision; evidence-based practice; best practices

INTRODUCTION

Attention to clinical supervision processes and supervisor training has exploded globally in recent years. As a result,
a large body of research now provides greater specification about effective supervision practice and effective
education of supervisors, although all supervision-related questions clearly have not been answered. Efforts to
harness the expanse of supervision knowledge have taken two formats (Watkins, 2012): explication of supervisor
competencies and statements of evidence-based or best practices. Both formats provide important guidelines for

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supervision practice and supervisor education. They are different but certainly complementary.

Statements of both competencies and best practices enhance one’s ability to practice supervision in an accountable
and ethical manner, both are based in conceptual and empirical literature, and both evolve as new knowledge
becomes available. Their differences highlight their complementary nature. Stated in the most basic terms:
Competencies outline required declarative knowledge, or what a competent supervisor needs to know; best
practices provide the basis for procedural knowledge, describe when and how declarative knowledge is applied, or
what a supervisor does during supervision. Best practices provide evidence-based guidelines for implementing or
applying competencies (as well as ethical codes). For example, the supervision competency “ability to provide
effective formative and summative feedback” (Falender et al., 2004, p. 778) is a critical supervision skill. However,
when stated as a competency only, it does not suggest the recommended frequency or content of each feedback
nor the basis for evaluation (e.g., direct observation of counseling sessions). Competencies and best practices are
not always clearly delineated. For example, Roth and Pilling’s (2008) elaborations of their supervision competence
framework describe applications of competencies that read as best practices. For example, elaborations under the
competency “An ability to structure sessions” include moving the group from supervision in a group to supervision
with a group to, finally, supervision by the group [see Specific Supervision Competences section at CORE
Supervision Framework Website]).

In short, consideration of supervision competencies and best practices should not take an either/or perspective, as
both offer critical guidelines necessary to developing effective supervision as a core professional activity. With that
caveat, my focus in this article is to describe the Best Practices for Clinical Supervision created by a task force of the
Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (ACES).

PROFESSIONAL CONTEXT OF THE BEST PRACTICES IN CLINICAL SUPERVISION

The best practices statement is built on several decades of work within the counseling profession to articulate
clinical supervision as a professional specialty, and began with the Standards for Counseling Supervisors (Dye
&Borders, 1990). The Standards were then translated into a set of learning outcomes in the Curriculum Guide for
Training Counseling Supervisors (Borders, Bernard, Dye, Fong, Henderson, &Nance, 1991) and further transformed
into ethical principles in the Ethical Guidelines for Counseling Supervisors (Hart, Borders, Nance, &Paradise, 1995;
which is now subsumed by the American Counseling Association [ACA] 2005 Code of Ethics). These documents
also informed supervisor credentialing efforts: requirements for supervision instruction in doctoral programs
accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP, 2009);
requirements for the Approved Counseling Supervisor (ACS) credential, created by The National Board for Certified
Counselors (NBCC, 1997); criteria stated in the Approved Supervisor Model, endorsed by the American Association
of State Counselor Boards (AASCB, 2007); and regulations for training for supervisors of counselor licensure
applicants in 26 states (ACA, 2010).

The Best Practices in Clinical Supervision task force was created in response to ACES members’ request for more
specific guidance that incorporated ethical and legal principles, credentialing and licensure requirements, and
research evidence for their supervisory practice. Accordingly, task force members reviewed relevant legal
precedents and ethical codes, studied accreditation and credentialing documents, read supervision competency and
practice statements from other professions, and conducted a comprehensive review of conceptual and empirical
supervision literature across several helping disciplines. In writing the best practice statements, they followed a
systematic process, a “best available evidence” approach (Petticrew &Roberts, 2006), integrating research evidence
with commonly espoused beliefs about supervision. Task force members sought to create aethoretical guidelines
that would be relevant and applicable across a range of counseling settings and client populations, for preservice

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and postgraduate supervision practice. Endorsed by the ACES Executive Council on April 22, 2011, the full task
force report and best practice guidelines (ACES, 2011) are available online at http:// www.acesonline.net/wp-
content/uploads/2011/10/ACES-Best-Practicesin- clinical-supervision-document-FINAL.pdf (see also Borders et al.,
in press).

CONTENT OF THE BEST PRACTICES IN CLINICAL SUPERVISION

The Best Practices in Clinical Supervision document is made up of 12 sections covering the phases and processes
in conducting supervision as well as supervisor training, characteristics, and competent behaviors. The first section,
“Initiating Supervision,” outlines sound informed consent practices, including a supervisor professional disclosure
statement and components of the supervision contract that should be shared with the supervisee, including limits of
confidentiality. Supervisors lead a discussion of expectations (e.g., preparation for supervision) and responsibilities
(e.g., documentation) of both supervisor and supervisee. During these discussions, supervisors also facilitate the
development of a working alliance, including taking the lead in addressing topics such as diversity and the
supervisee’s preferred learning style(s).

“Goal-Setting” includes both the development of goals and attention to goals throughout the supervisory relationship.
To the extent possible, supervisors work with the supervisee to construct goals that are realistic, measurable, and
attainable; address all areas of counselor competence; support delivery of effective services; benefit the therapeutic
alliance; match the supervisee’s developmental level and prioritized learning needs; and are within the supervisor’s
areas of competence. Supervisors then intentionally address one or more of these goals in each supervision
session, review the supervisee’s progress toward the goals on a regular basis, and use the goals as one piece of
evaluations. At the same time, supervisors are conducting their own ongoing assessments of supervisees’ skills and
learning needs that, along with supervisees’ goals, are prioritized for attention.

Best practices for “Giving Feedback” provide guidelines offering constructive feedback without overwhelming the
supervisee. Such feedback is characterized as regular, ongoing, manageable, timely, concrete, descriptive, directive
as needed, appropriate to the supervisee’s developmental level and counseling setting, that achieve a balance of
challenge and support. Feedback is based, at least in part, on direct observation (e.g., live observation, review of
digital recordings) of the supervisee’s work. Supervisors also help supervisees pay attention to feedback from clients
and peers, and are aware that their in-session behavior is a form of non-verbal feedback.

“Conducting Supervision” includes best practices for individual, group, and triadic supervision modalities. Across all
modalities, supervisors adhere to professional standards (e.g., frequency of supervision); meet face-to-face with
supervisees or use technology that approximates face-toface synchronous contact; and create plans that are
structured as needed, purposeful, attend to supervisee goals, and can be modified as needed based on supervisee
needs and client welfare. Supervisors intentionally employ a variety of supervisory interventions that address a
range of supervision foci (e.g., skills, case conceptualization, self-awareness). Supervisors choose and plan group
and triadic (meeting with two supervisees simultaneously) modalities for educational reasons, not primarily for time
efficiency. Supervisors use effective group leadership skills, facilitate peer feedback and processing of feedback,
and encourage increasing supervisee autonomy and responsibility for the conduct of the group or triad. Supervisors
use technology in ways that enhance learning and adhere to ethical and legal guidelines. Within all modalities,
supervisors actively evaluate the effectiveness of supervision and the experience of the supervisee (e.g., whether an
intern’s site supervisor provides appropriate oversight and learning opportunities for the supervisee).

Perhaps the most empirically supported best practice is the role of “The Supervisory Relationship.” Supervisors give
deliberate attention to fostering a safe and mutually trusting supervisory environment. They view supervisee anxiety

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as well as supervisee resistance as normal responses to challenge and change, and thus manage these dynamics
in ways that allow ongoing growth and development. They anticipate some level of conflict in the supervisory
relationship and deal with it productively. They also address parallel process issues, transference, and
countertransference in developmentally appropriate ways. Supervisors address diversity issues and the power
differential in the supervisory relationship, and avoid or manage dual relationships. Supervisors are on the alert to
recognize their own unproductive or harmful influences, such as transference, countertransference, values and
beliefs, in the supervisory relationship, and how these may be contributing to supervisee anxiety, resistance, and
relationship conflict.

Supervisors give diligent attention to “Diversity and Advocacy Considerations” within the supervisory and counseling
relationships. Supervisors initiate conversations about power and privilege, require attention to a full range of
diversity and cultural factors during case conceptualization, facilitate multicultural knowledge and competence in
supervisees, use culturally sensitive interventions in supervision, promote advocacy with and for clients as
appropriate, and engage in self-assessment of their own cultural competence.

“Ethical Considerations” are highlighted separately and infused throughout the best practices statement. Supervisors
adhere to professional ethical codes and other relevant guidelines for the conduct of supervision, particularly around
informed consent, limits of confidentiality, and parameters of evaluation. They monitor their own competence, only
supervise within their areas of clinical competence, limit the number of supervisees to maintain effectiveness,
regularly seek peer consultation or supervision, engage in various forms of continuing education, and model self-
care. Supervisors understand that protecting client welfare is their first and highest responsibility and oversee
supervisees’ work to achieve this (e.g., assign clients appropriate to supervisee developmental level, review
supervisee professional disclosure statement). Supervisors work to avoid multiple relationships (e.g., supervisor and
personal friend) and potentially harmful relationships with supervisees, and act within appropriate parameters (e.g.,
avoid acting as counselor with the supervisee) in addressing supervisees’ personal issues. Supervisors expect the
same high ethical standards of their supervisees in their clinical work, guide critical thinking and decision-making
when supervisees are faced with an ethical dilemma, and report ethical breaches when necessary. Supervisors are
aware that ongoing assessment and evaluation are needed; they explain the evaluation process and reporting
upfront, base evaluations on methods of direct observation, and provide fair evaluations that address supervisee
strengths and limitations. These ethical considerations apply to counseling supervisees as well as supervisors-in-
training.

“Documentation” provides supervisors with one measure of accountability. Supervisors’ documentation includes the
supervision contract (signed by all parties involved), supervision session case notes, and supervisee evaluations.
Supervisors maintain documentation that is sensitive to clients and supervisees, protects client welfare, and protects
the privacy and confidentiality of clients and supervisees.

The “Evaluation” section repeats some best practices from other sections (e.g., “Ethical Considerations”),
highlighting again the importance of ongoing formative evaluations and regular summative evaluations, based on
direct observation of a representative sample of the supervisee’s work and including review of complete counseling
sessions. Supervisors clearly communicate the evaluation plan to supervisees at the beginning of supervision,
encourage supervisee self-evaluation and self-reflection, and attend to the range of counseling skills as well as the
supervisee’s own learning goals. If a remediation plan is necessary, the supervisor immediately notifies the
supervisee and presents a written remediation plan with clear objectives and timeline. Supervisors invite and
encourage supervisee feedback, including opportunities for anonymous feedback when possible.

Supervisors choose a “Supervision Format” in line with professional guidelines, supervisee needs, and client welfare

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rather than supervisor convenience. When possible, the supervisor makes intentional pairings (e.g., by
developmental level) for triadic and group supervision.

“The Supervisor” section outlines supervisor competences and characteristics, including training and experience as
a counseling practitioner and as a supervisor. Some best practices are emphasized again in this section, such as
competency in multicultural and diversity considerations, awareness of the power differential, acceptance of the
evaluation role, commitment to protecting client welfare, and managing relationship dynamics. Of note here are
statements about supervisors’ knowledge of the educational processes underlying supervision, such as practices
that promote supervisee self-efficacy and competence at various developmental levels, ability to individualize
supervision based on supervisee needs, and articulation of their supervisory style(s), roles, and approaches. Self-
reflection is emphasized, especially on issues of culture, power, privilege, and openness to supervisee feedback.
Supervisors regularly engage in professional development activities (e.g., reading supervision research), and base
their supervision practice on current knowledge of best practices in supervision. Supervisor characteristics include
being open to ambiguity, modesty, courage to take risks, and ability to learn from one’s mistakes.

“Supervisor Preparation: Supervision Training and Supervision of Supervision” outlines a sequence of didactic
instruction and experiential training in clinical supervision (i.e., supervision of supervision) based in best practices
and teaching best practices (i.e., pedagogy). Supervisor training emphasizes, among other things, the role modeling
supervisors provide whenever interacting with supervisees, the supervisory relationship as the primary vehicle for
learning in supervision, the delicate balance of challenge and support of the supervisee, relevant learning theories
and principles, and development of a personal philosophy of supervision.

UNDERLYING THEMES IN THE BEST PRACTICES IN CLINICAL SUPERVISION

Beyond the specifics included in the Best Practices statement are central themes that supported their creation. First,
supervision is a proactive, planned, purposeful, goal-oriented, and intentional activity (Borders &Brown, 2005).
Supervisors following best practices spend a good bit of time planning for supervision sessions. For example, they
review recordings of a supervisee’s counseling sessions; reflect on the supervisee’s learning goals, strengths,
developmental needs, personality, cognitive complexity and cognitive/learning style, cultural characteristics,
motivation, self-presentation and responsiveness in previous supervision sessions; evaluate effectiveness of
supervision interventions to date; and consider the client’s needs and progress. These and other relevant factors
(e.g., stage of supervisory relationship, knowledge of any external influences such as a recent death in the
supervisee’s family) inform the supervisor’s plan for the upcoming supervision session, particularly the appropriate,
manageable “mismatch” needed in the learning environment that both challenges the supervisee’s growth while
supporting him or her. This planning is confounded when more than one supervisee will be in the session, such as in
triadic and group supervision. Second, supervision is developmental, and so the appropriate learning environment
necessarily will need to vary in the amount of structure, direction, support, challenge, and collaboration to “match”
the supervisee. The appropriate learning environment not only will differ by supervisee, but also change over time
with the same supervisee (although development and experience are not necessarily synonymous); it may differ
even within a session with the same supervisee. As a result, this leads to a third theme-supervisors must be flexible
and able to employ a range of roles and approaches and effectively focus on various counseling competencies (e.g.,
skills, case conceptualization, cultural competence, self-awareness and self-reflection). These themes point to a
fourth: supervision is an educational process which should be informed by knowledge and research from relevant
fields such as learning theory, teacher education, and cognitive science (Borders, 2001, 2010; Goodyear, 2013;
Watkins, 2012). Thus, supervisors should be trained in principles and practices that support their development of an
identity as an educator within the supervision context that compliments their identity as a clinician. Fifth, attention to
diversity and cultural competence of supervisee and supervisor are embedded throughout the Best Practices.

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Similarly, in the sixth theme, supervisors teach supervisees reflection skills, encourage self-reflection during
counseling sessions, and model and practice selfreflection on an on-going basis. In line with the “best practices”
nomenclature, supervisors act in ways that are accountable, a seventh theme, including adherence to ethical, legal
and credentialing guidelines as well as evaluation of their own supervision practice. Being accountable also means
basing supervision in direct observation of supervisees’ counseling practice, an eighth theme. Finally, the best
practices and their underlying themes are reflected in the education and supervision of supervisors, a sequence of
didactic and experiential (supervised supervision) educational activities.

TRANSDISCIPLINARY RELEVANCE OF THE BEST PRACTICES IN CLINICAL SUPERVISION

Falender et al. (2004) pointed to similarities across supervision standards published at that time as evidence of
external validity of their supervisor competencies. Similarities among the Best Practices and other evidence-based
supervision statements across disciplines and countries support their transdisciplinary relevance for supervision
practice. Indeed, such similarities are evident. For example, even though the Best Practices are aethoretical, they
reflect similar content and emphases found in the four evidence-based guidelines for cognitive behavioral therapy
(CBT) supervision developed in Britain (Milne &Dunkerley, 2010, p. 48): “Developing the Supervision Contract
(including collaborative agendasetting), Methods of Facilitating Learning (including making supervision an active
process with experiential methods, such as reviewing tapes), Evaluation in Supervision (e.g., reviewing one’s
competence), and The Supervisory Alliance (the relational context).”

More recently, the National Association of Social Workers and the Association of Social Work Boards (2013)
published a statement of Best Practice Standards in Social Work Supervision. Their best practices are organized
into five standards:

* context in supervision (e.g., understanding scope of practice, cultural awareness and cross-cultural supervision,
dual supervision and conflict resolution);

* conduct of supervision (e.g., confidentiality, contracting, competency, self-care);

* legal and regulatory issues (e.g., liability, regulations, documentation);

* ethical issues (e.g., ethical decision-making, boundaries, self-disclosure, attending to safety, alternative practice);
and

* technology (e.g., distance supervision, risk management). (pp. 10-24)

Other sections of the document describe qualifications for supervisors in social work, evaluation and outcomes, and
termination of the supervisory relationship. Again, the similarities in terminology and content are obvious, although a
cursory review of the social work best practice standards revealed some discipline-based differences. For example,
the social work standards reflect an agency-based orientation, such as helping supervisees learn “how to respond to
workplace conflict, respond to threats and harassment, protect property, and deal with assaults and their emotional
aftermath” (p. 22). Perhaps the agency-based orientation also accounts for reliance on “case studies, progress
notes, conversations, the successful implementation of treatment plans, and client outcomes” (p. 22) as the criteria
for measuring goal attainment; these criteria do not include the repeated emphasis in the Best Practices in Clinical
Supervision that direct observation of supervisees’ work be used as the basis for evaluation. In addition, counselor
education accreditation standards allow triadic supervision, a modality receiving increasing attention from
researchers exploring the most appropriate structure, procedures, and learning objectives for this modality (e.g.,

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Borders et al., 2012); triadic supervision does not appear in the social work best practice standards.

An agency-based orientation similar to that in the social work document is evident in a preliminary list of
recommended best practice guidelines for mental health nurses in Northern Ireland (Rice et al., 2007). Stakeholders
in that effort found it impossible to separate clinical supervision from managerial supervision and performance
evaluations. Thus, Rice et al. provided recommendations that emphasize organizational policies that allow
supervision to occur during the workday. Their few recommendations specific to supervisors are similar to the Best
Practices (e.g., be available, supportive, and able to help supervisees reflect on and evaluate their work, have
received training), although stated much more broadly. Somewhat similarly, Roth and Pilling’s (2008) supervision
competence framework is focused on the workplace in the UK (e.g., “ability to take into account the organizational
context for supervision,” p. 10) yet also cover many competencies evident in the Best Practices. Examples include
“ability to employ educational principles which enhance learning,” “ability to structure supervision sessions,” “ability
to use a range of methods to give accurate and constructive feedback,” “ability to gauge supervisee’s level of
competence,” “ability for supervisor to reflect (and act on) limitations in own knowledge and experience,” “ability to
help the supervisee practice specific clinical skills,” and “ability to incorporate direct observation into supervision” (p.
10).

Thus, it might be expected that future statements of supervision best practices, such as those currently being written
for psychologists in the United States, will include many of the same topics as found in the ACES document, with
variations and emphases that are based in the traditions, culture, structure, and terminology of the discipline in a
particular country (for example, see the emphasis on cultural supervision with Maori in the Guidelines on
Supervision, New Zealand Psychologists Board, 2010). In the meantime, the Best Practices in Clinical Supervision
provide a useful statement of applicable guidelines for effective, ethical, competent, and accountable supervision
practice in a number of contexts.

CONCLUSION

Supervision competencies and best practices have provided much needed declarative and procedural knowledge
regarding supervision practice and supervisor education. The development of supervisor expertise, however, also
requires reflective knowledge (cf. Schn, 1983, 1987; Watkins, 2012), and the insights one gains over time about
how and when to adapt (even improvise). One’s supervision approach is based on the context, supervisee, and
client through recognizing the complexity, ambiguity, and ill-defined problems endemic to supervision. Others,
including Falender and Shafranske (2007) and Roth and Pilling (2008), have referred to a similar construct: “meta-
competence.” Falendar and Shafranske (2007) defined meta-competence as “the ability to assess what one knows
and what one doesn’t know” (p. 232), while Roth and Pilling (2008) focused on “the need to make appropriate
adaptations in order to maximize the supervisee’s ability to learn” and the ability to “apply professional judgment to
complex issues” (p. 14). Reflective knowledge is built during years of practice and is dependent on continual self-
awareness, selfassessment, self-monitoring, and self-reflection, which are predominant characteristics of expert
supervisors as reported in a recent study (Kemer, Borders, &Willse, 2014). “Professional artistry” (Schn, 1987, p.
22) based in supervisor’s reflective knowledge requires both reflection-inaction, supervisors’ thinking about what
they are doing while they are doing it, as well as reflection on reflection-in-action (Schn).

Any statement of best practices is somewhat outdated at its moment of publication. The ACES task force members
suggested revisiting the Best Practices document at least every decade. Hopefully, future revisions will achieve even
more specification and explication based in results of supervision research in the counseling field and other
disciplines, in the United States and globally.

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AuthorAffiliation
L. DiANNE BORDERS, Ph.D.
Burlington Industries Excellence Professor in the Department of Counseling and Educational Development, The
University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Mailing address: L. DiAnne Borders, Department of Counseling and
Educational Development, PO Box 26170, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, NC 27402.
e-mail: [emailprotected]

DETAILS

Subject: Best practice; Supervision; Psychotherapy

MeSH: Counseling — standards, Curriculum — standards, Evidence-Based Practice —
standards, Humans, Professional Competence — standards, Program Evaluation,
Psychotherapy — standards, United States, Counseling — education (major), Mentors
(major), Psychotherapy — education (major)

Publication title: American Journal of Psychotherapy; Washington

Volume: 68

Issue: 2

Pages: 151-62

Number of pages: 12

Publication year: 2014

Publication date: 2014

Publisher: American Psychiatric Association

Place of publication: Washington

Country of publication: US Minor Outlying Islands, Washington

Publication subject: Medical Sciences–Psychiatry And Neurology

ISSN: 00029564

e-ISSN: 25756559

CODEN: AJPTAR

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Best Practices in Clinical Supervision: Another Step in Delineating Effective Supervision Practice Humane Orientation as a Moral Construct in
Ethical Leadership Theories: A Comparative

Analysis of Transformational, Servant, and
Authentic Leadership in the United States,

Mexico, and China
Elizabeth Kathrina Hunt*

* Assistant Professor and Co-Chair of Communication and Director of Character in Leadership, University of Jamestown,
United States. Email: [emailprotected]

Article can be accessed online at http://www.publishingindia.com

Abstract

The present paper presents the GLOBE leadership
behaviour of humane orientation as a moral construct
within the ethical leadership theories of transformational
leadership, servant leadership, and authentic
leadership. A discussion of the country cultures of the
United States, China, and Mexico and an articulation of
how each of these theories is received and practiced
in response to the leadership behaviour of humane
orientation support the use of these theories in all
three countries cultures. In particular, the use of these
theories may be advantageous in increasing the use of
humane-oriented behaviours in these country cultures,
which supports an expressed humane orientation
value in the United States, China, and Mexico.

Keywords: Transformational Leadership, Servant
Leadership, Authentic Leadership, Humane Orientation,
Ethical Leadership

Introduction

The study of leadership theory includes assessing and
understanding how culture affects practice, effectiveness,
and support of specific leadership behaviours within each
leadership theory. The GLOBE study (House, Hanges,
Javidan, Dorman, & Gupta, 2004) assessed a variety
of cultural values in relation to leadership behaviours,
providing a plethora of significant data regarding cultural
leadership practices, values, and effectiveness.

The present paper focuses on the GLOBE leadership
behaviour humane orientation. Humane orientation is
presented as a moral construct within ethical leadership
theories, including transformational leadership, servant
leadership, and authentic leadership. Finally, in a review
of transformational leadership, servant leadership, and
authentic leadership in relation to cultural values and
practices in the United States, China, and Mexico, it
will be shown that the humane orientation behaviours as
represented in the ethical leadership theories discussed can
enhance and support current humane orientation practices
and support efforts to increase humane orientation within
those countries.

Culture and Leadership

Schein (1984) defined organisational culture as a pattern
of basic assumptions that a given group has invented,
discovered, or developed in learning to cope with its
problems of external adaptation and internal integration,
and that have worked well enough to be considered valid,
and therefore taught to new members as the correct way to
perceive, think, and feel in relation to those problems (p.
3). Cortes and Wilkinson (2009) supported this definition
as applicable to cultures overall by indicating that cultures
add to personal belief systems and worldviews, group-
based tendencies, values, and perceptions. Cultures
include geographic, national, transnational, racial, and
ethnic groups, as well as, age, gender, religion, sexual
orientation, language, and differential abilities groups
(Cortes & Wilkinson, 2009, p. 19).

2 International Journal on Leadership Volume 5 Issue 2 October 2017

Culture changes constantly and members of a particular
culture transmit those changes to other members
(Northouse, 2016). Schein (1984) indicated that culture
is invented, discovered, or developed on the basis
of external adaptation or a groups need to survive in
the outside environment, and internal integration, or
a groups need to manage itself (Schien, 1984, p. 9). A
culture strives to understand and put into perspective the
very nature of humanity, relationships, time and space,
and reality and truth (Schein, 1984, p. 14).

Yukl (2013) noted that cultural values and traditions
influence leaders, but situational variables are mediators
in how a leaders behaviour is actually enacted. Situational
variables can include the type of organisation or industry
and the specific leadership role. Schein (1984) supported
this premise by reporting that the content of culture and
the situation may be more critical than overall culture
and traditions. As well, he posited that organisations
may have more than one culture simultaneously (Schein,
1984). Finally, House et al. (2004) presented both cultural
values and cultural practices for the leadership constructs
assessed in the GLOBE study. Values and practice may not
align due to a variety of moderating reasons, supporting
the idea that leadership attributes can be culturally
sensitive (House et al., 2004).

The GLOBE study identified 22 leadership attributes which
were assessed to formulate six overall global leadership
behaviours. The initial 22 leadership attributes included
being trustworthy, intelligent, just, decisive, encouraging,
informed, administratively skilled, communicative, a
motive arouser, a team builder, positive, excellence-
oriented, dynamic, a coordinator, dependable, a confidence
builder, a win-win problem solver, motivational, honest,
effective bargainer, planning ahead, and having foresight
(Hyatt, Evans, & Haque, 2009). These leadership
attributes resulted in the global leadership behaviours
of charismatic/value-based leadership, team-oriented
leadership, participative leadership, humane-oriented
leadership, autonomous leadership, and self-protective
leadership (House et al., 2004). Charismatic/value-based
leadership includes behaviours that inspire and motivate
followers through being visionary, inspirational, self-
sacrificial, having integrity, being decisive, and being
performance-oriented (p. 14). Team-oriented leadership
supports a common goal using collaboration, integration,
diplomacy, administrative competence, and malevolence
(reverse scored) (p. 14). Participative leadership

encourages participation of followers in decision-making
and planning (p. 14). Humane-oriented leadership focuses
on supporting and showing compassion towards followers
(p. 14). Autonomous leadership refers to very independent
and individualistic leadership behaviours (p. 14). Finally,
self-protective leadership focuses on ensuring safety
for the leader and group through face-saving and status
conscious behaviours (p. 14).

The cultural dimensions used in the GLOBE study
included uncertainty avoidance, power distance,
institutional collectivism, in-group collectivism, gender
egalitarianism, assertiveness, and future-orientation
(House et al., 2004). Power distance describes the
degree that members of a group believe power should be
distributed equally (House et al., 2004, p. 30). Uncertainty
avoidance concerns the way that a culture relies on social
norms and rules to lessen the uncertainty of the future (p.
30). Humane orientation refers to the degree to which
a culture rewards people for being fair, caring, and
altruistic (p. 30). Institutional collectivism concerns the
extent to which cultures encourage and reward collective
distribution of resources and collective action (p. 30). In-
group collectivism focuses on the extent to which people
are proud of and loyal to their culture or group (p. 30).
Assertiveness includes how assertive, confrontational,
and aggressive individuals behave (p. 30). Gender
egalitarianism represents the extent that gender inequality
is minimised (p. 30). Future orientation reflects the
degree that people look toward and plan for the future and
delay immediate pleasures (p. 30). Finally, performance
orientation relates to how groups support and encourage
meeting goals and performance standards (p. 30).

The cultural dimensions and leadership behaviours can
be utilised to understand, predict, and assess leadership
theories within various cultures. However, as both Schein
(1984) and House et al. (2004) noted, particular situational
variables and specific organisational culture and design
can affect the use or effectiveness of specific leader
behaviours regardless of cultural values or practices.

Humane Orientation and Morality

Definition of Humane Orientation

House et al. (2004) presented cultural humane orientation
as the extent to which a culture rewards individuals
for being kind, caring, and altruistic (p. 30). Humane

Humane Orientation as a Moral Construct in Ethical Leadership Theories: A Comparative Analysis… 3

leadership behaviour is described as being supportive
and compassionate toward followers (p. 14). Within the
conception of humane leadership behaviour are values
of altruism, benevolence, kindness, love, and generosity
(p. 565). Humane-oriented leaders are expected to be
unpretentious, show humility, and do not boast. They are
empathetic and likely to help and support team members
in a humane manner by offering resources and other forms
of assistance (House, Dorfman, Javidan, Hanges, & Sully
de Luque, 2013). House et al. (2004) indicated that within
humane orientation there is a quest for self-transcendence
and practice of universalism and benevolence (p. 565).
Universalism includes understanding, tolerance, and
protectiveness. Benevolence includes social and financial
support. Both practices encourage a more humane
orientation to others.

Humane Orientation as a Moral Construct

Societies that value humane orientation have a general
concern for improving the human condition (House et
al., 2004, p. 165). House et al. (2004) presented historical
and societal influences on humane orientation, including
the moral philosophies of Aristotle and Plato indicating
that friendship and love, with or without affection, support
the construct of humane orientation. As well, world
religions such as Judaism, Christianity, and Islam support
humane orientation by associating behaviours and duties
with goodness and humanitarianism (House et al., 2004).
Eastern religions such as Buddhism and Taoism also
support humane orientation through belief in harmony
with the universe and restraint of base behaviours (House
et al., 2004).

The morality of behaviour implicitly underlies these
perspectives. The word moral means of or relating to
principles of right conduct or the distinction between
right and wrong (n.d.). House et al., (2004) discussed
the construct of humane orientation as supported by
a strong sense of public morality. Public morality
supports congruence with the traditions, rules, and laws
of a particular group or culture, indicating that humane
orientations expression of moral behaviour may be
culturally different. Regardless of specific culture,
moral behaviour is associated with choosing right and
good behaviour over wrong and bad based on the moral
standards prescribed by that cultures laws, traditions, and
basic regard for human life.

Altruism presents itself as one of the supporting ideas
presented in conceptions of humane orientation. Altruism
or principle or practice of unselfish concern for or
devotion to the welfare of others (n.d.) derives from a
moral perspective. Determining which principles and
practices should be deemed unselfish must come from a
basic understanding of what is right and wrong behaviour,
or a moral foundation.

Humane orientations concern with right and wrong
conduct, its concern with ethical behaviour, and its
practice of altruistic behaviours make it a moral construct.
Kohlberg (as cited in Northouse, 2016) presented six
stages of moral development which are divided into three
levels, pre-conventional morality, conventional morality,
and post-conventional morality. Pre-conventional
morality includes the stages of obedience and punishment
and individualism and exchange (Northouse, 2016).
The pre-conventional morality level bases reasoning
on the self, avoiding punishment and gaining rewards.
Conventional morality includes the stages of interpersonal
accord and conformity and maintaining social order
(Northouse, 2016). The conventional morality level
bases reasoning on what society thinks and expects.
Post-conventional morality includes the stages of social
contract and individual rights and universal principles
(Northouse, 2016). The post-conventional morality level
bases reasoning on personal conscience and a just society.
Humane orientation calls for level three post-conventional
morality, which includes ethical and altruistic behaviour
despite societal expectations and without seeking reward
or credit. Humane-oriented leaders are interested in doing
what is right for others despite consequences and because
it will improve the human condition (House et al.,
2004). Leaders that exhibit a humane orientation practice
ethical leadership and engage in altruistic behaviours
that are supported by post-conventional morality. The
foundation of moral principles and behaviour and the
practice of altruistic behaviour are key in understanding
how the construct of humane orientation presents itself in
various ethical leadership theories.

Ethical Leadership Theories and Humane
Orientation

Northouse (2016) indicated that ethics are central to
leadership. Resick, Hanges, Dickson, and Mitchelson
(2006) defined ethical leadership as leading in a manner

4 International Journal on Leadership Volume 5 Issue 2 October 2017

that respects the rights and dignity of others (p. 346). A
number of scholars, including Eisenbeiss and Brodbeck
(2014) and Ciulla (1995) supported ethical leadership as
including a deep respect and concern for human dignity.
Ethics are concerned with the common good and
civility and a consideration of how personal actions affect
others (Resick et al., 2006, p. 347). The particular acts of
humility, loyalty, virtue, generosity, and forgiveness (p.
346), exemplify ethical leadership characteristics. Central
to ethical leader character is integrity, which includes
determining and engaging in correct moral behaviour
(Resick et al., 2006). A keen ethical awareness or an
ability to perceive and understand moral issues that affect
decisions supports the construct of integrity (Resick et al.,
2006).

Resick et al., (2006) noted four culturally universal
attributes of ethical leadership, which include character
and integrity, altruism, collective motivation, and
encouragement. Eisenbeiss and Brodbeck (2014) and
Ciulla (1995) supported altruism as a key characteristic
of ethical leadership. Eisenbeiss and Brodbeck (2014)
indicated that ethical leaders show people orientation,
see the interconnectedness of humans, and are concerned
with the well-being of others. Resick et al. (2006)
also supported the connection between altruism and
community/people-orientation.

Eisenbeiss (2012), in an interdisciplinary analysis of
Western and Eastern conceptions of ethical behaviour,
formulated four central components of ethical leadership
including humane orientation, justice orientation,
responsibility and sustainability orientation, and
moderation orientation. Justice orientation refers
to making fair and consistent decisions and not
discriminating against others (Eisebeiss, 2012, p. 796).
Responsibility and sustainability orientation refers to a
leaders long-term views on success and their concern for
the welfare of society and the environment (Eisenbeiss,
2012, p. 796). Moderation orientation includes
temperance and humility and balanced leader behaviour
(Eisenbeiss, 2012, p. 797). Finally, human orientation
includes treating others with dignity and respect and
to see them as ends not as mean, compassion, charity
and altruism (Eisenbeiss, 2012, p. 795). Current ethical
leadership theory discusses aspects of humane orientation
in regards to leader altruism, leader respect for others, and

leader people orientation (Eisenbeiss, 2012). Moral action
and behaviour create a foundation for ethical leadership.
Altruism and people oriented behaviours that result
in good for others are examples of those moral actions
and behaviours expected of ethical leaders. Altruistic
and people oriented behaviours support the construct of
humane orientation, making humane orientation a moral
construct present in ethical leadership theories.

Eisenbeiss (2012) noted that a leaders morality and
ethical conduct have been – more or less explicitly
addressed as an element in well-established leadership
theories: particularly in transformational leadership,
authentic leadership, spiritual leadership, and servant
leadership (p. 792). Specifically, transformational
leadership supports high ethical standards for leaders,
servant leadership articulates service and responsibility,
and authentic leadership engages in ethical consideration
of consequences (Eisenbeiss, 2012). The discussion
of humane orientation as it relates to transformational
leadership, servant leadership, and authentic leadership
that follows supports humane orientation as a construct
within these ethical leadership theories.

Servant Leadership

Servant leadership theory traces its roots back to the
writings of Greenleaf (2008) who articulated servant
leadership as stemming from a natural inclination to want
to serve others. Greenleaf (2008) indicated that the test
of servant leadership is found in assessing the following
questions, Do those served grow as persons; do they,
while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer,
more autonomous, more likely themselves to become
servants? (p. 15). Since Greenleafs conception of
servant leadership, a variety of conceptual models have
been developed and tested.

Patterson (2003) articulated servant leadership in the
form of virtuous behaviours which include love, humility,
altruism, vision, trust, empowerment, and service. Winston
(2003) extended Pattersons (2003) model to include
a circular relationship of follower love, commitment to
the leader, self-efficacy, intrinsic motivation, altruism
toward the leader, and finally, follower service (p.
6). Finally, Winston and Fields (2015) indicated that
servant leadership included ten specific behaviours: 1)

Humane Orientation as a Moral Construct in Ethical Leadership Theories: A Comparative Analysis… 5

practicing what you preach; 2) serving people regardless
of differences; 3) serving as a mission and responsibility
to others; 4) showing interest in followers as people; 5)
serving others as most important; 6) making sacrifices for
others; 7) seeking to instill trust over fear; 8) honesty; 9)
being driven by a higher calling; and 10) promoting values
that transcend self-interest and material success (p. 424).
Keys to Greenleaf (2008), Patterson (2003), Winston
(2003), and Winston and Fields (2009) are ethical and
altruistic consideration of others.

Northouse (2016) described servant leadership as a
paradox. Servant leadership puts the follower first,
empowering them to meet their full potential (Northouse,
2016). Putting followers needs first may include
nurturing, defending, empowering, and standing up for
justice (Yukl, 2013). Servant leadership theory focuses
on behaviours used by leaders to support follower
development (Northouse, 2016; Winston & Fields, 2015).
By using these particular behaviours, a servant leader
puts followers first, supports their development, and
eventually followers will mimic and reciprocate these
behaviours (Winston & Fields, 2015). In essence, a servant
leader acts as a steward of both the organisation and the
members of the organisation through service to followers
first (Winston & Fields, 2015). Winston and Ryan (2008)
presented servant leadership as a humane orientation
based on the models of servant leadership presented by
Patterson (2003) and Winston (2003), particularly with
regards to the characteristics of humility, care, concern,
benevolence, altruism, service, fairness, and a friendship
related definition of love (p. 220). Most servant
leadership theories focus on humility, the needs of others,
and duty and social responsibility (Winston & Ryan,
2008), making it compatible with the humane orientation
concept as presented in the GLOBE study.

Transformational Leadership

James McGregor Burns first developed a conceptualisation
of transformational leadership in 1978 (Yukl, 2013).
Burns conception of leadership contrasted transactional
leadership, or leadership associated with the exchange of
goods, with transformational leadership which aims to use
the moral values of followers to mobilise them to reform
organisations and institutions in which they live and work.
The idea of transformational leadership has evolved over
the years, and now most theories include the attainment of
organisational goals and tasks rather than elevating moral

awareness. Regardless of these fundamental changes,
transformational leadership remains linked to trust in the
leader, inspirational and motivating behaviours, and an
engagement of new ideas (Yukl, 2013).

Yukl (2013) presented Basss articulation of
transformational leadership as the most widely used.
Bass identified four leadership behaviours central
to transformational leadership: idealised influence,
intellectual stimulation, individual consideration, and
inspirational motivation. Idealised influence includes
behaviour that will increase a followers ability to
identify with the leader. Intellectual stimulation includes
behaviours that encourage followers to see problems and
situations from a new perspective. Individual consideration
is engaged by providing support, encouragement, and
coaching or mentoring. Finally, inspirational motivation
is a leaders ability to articulate a clear and appealing
vision (Yukl, 2013).

Eisenbeiss and Brodbeck (2014) presented moral and
ethical conduct as core dimensions of charismatic and
transformational leadership theories. Brown and Trevino
(2006) identified the idealised influence dimension as the
most ethically supported dimension of transformational
leadership. Idealised influence as an ethical dimension
supports the dimension of individual consideration
and guides the morality of all dimensions within
transformational leadership. Individual consideration
engages the leader in altruistic behaviours such as
supporting, encouraging, and mentoring. Therefore,
individual consideration expresses humane orientation
within transformational leadership.

Authentic Leadership

Authentic leadership currently exists in a formative
stage (Northouse, 2016). Authentic leadership focuses
on whether or not the leader is real (Northouse, 2016).
Avolio and Gardner (2005) stressed authenticity as
owning ones personal experiences, be they thoughts,
emotions, needs, wants, preferences, or beliefs, processes
captured by the injunction to know oneself and further
implies that one acts in accord with the true self, expressing
oneself in ways that are consistent with inner thoughts and
feelings (p. 319). Authenticity, therefore, is not seen as
a quality that one arrives at, but rather a process in which
an individual achieves different levels of authenticity
(Avolio & Gardner, 2005). This understanding of

6 International Journal on Leadership Volume 5 Issue 2 October 2017

authenticity implies a strong ethical or moral foundation.
Yukl (2013) noted that authentic leadership theories are
based on positive psychology and psychological theories
of self-regulation. As a result, authentic leadership places
emphasis on consistency in behaviour and values, self-
awareness, trusting relationships, positive core values, and
self-acceptance (Yukl, 2013, pg. 351-352). In addition,
Northouse (2016) noted that authentic leadership can be
approached from three perspectives: intrapersonal or a
focus on the internal processes that a leader undergoes,
interpersonal or a focus on the relationships between the
leader and followers, and developmental which focuses
on leadership as something that can be developed within
a leader over time.

Bill George originally presented five basic authentic
leadership characteristics which include understanding
purpose, having strong values and ethics, establishing
trusting relationships with followers, practicing self-
discipline, and having heart (Northouse, 2016). As
a process, there are four components including self-
awareness, internalised moral perspective, balanced
processing, and relational transparency (Northouse, 2016).
Self-awareness includes processes the leader undergoes
in order to understand who they are, what their values
are, and why they do what they do (Northouse, 20160.
Internalised moral perspective is a self-regulation process
that individuals use to guide their behaviour on the basis
of their values and morals (Northouse, 2016). Balanced
processing includes a leaders ability to be objective
and empathetic (Northouse, 2016). Finally, relational
transparency includes being open and honest with others
(Northouse, 2016). In conjunction with these processes,
several factors influence authentic leadership including
individual confidence, moral reasoning, and critical life
events (Northouse, 2016). Avolio and Gardner (2005)
also discussed the promotion of follower self-awareness
and regulation and follower overall development as a
result of authentic leadership. Brown and Trevino (2006)
discussed the authentic leadership characteristics of
social motivation and consideration as supporting ethical
leadership components in authentic leadership.

Northouse (2016) noted a similarity to servant and
transformational leadership in the inclusion of a moral
component and the emphasis of moral values and
behaviours. Combined values with the characteristics of
social motivation and consideration, and the emphasis
on moral behaviours create a component of humane
orientation within authentic leadership.

Cultural Response to Leadership
Theories Based on Humane Orientation

United States

General Cultural Discussion

Individualistic and performance-oriented, Americans
prize individual accomplishment and results (Northouse,
2016). In addition, low power distance, low long-term
orientation, and moderate uncertainty avoidance indicate
preferences for participative engagements, short-term
organisational goals, and a contextual sensitivity towards
the unknown (Hofstede, 2001). Americans rank fairly high
in the indulgence category (Hofstede, 2001). However, a
strong performance orientation that demands individual
and organisational performance moderates the indulgence
preference.

The GLOBE study placed the United States in the
Anglo culture cluster (House et al., 2004). The GLOBE
study ranked leadership behaviour preferences for the
Anglo cluster as follows: 1) charismatic/value-based; 2)
participative; 3) humane-oriented; 4) team-oriented; 5)
autonomous; and 6) self-protective (Northouse, 2016).
Countries within the Anglo cluster prefer leaders who
are visionary and inspiring and have a consideration and
sensitivity for others (Northouse, 2016).

Traditional mechanistic views of organisational structure
continue to greatly influence American organisational
culture (Miller, 2012; House et al., 2004). While
advanced technology moves many organisations away
from Taylorist and Fordist organisational processes to
more humane-oriented structures, the remnants of the
traditional approaches still present themselves in many
American organisations (House et al., 2004).

Humane Orientation Values

House et al. (2004) reported that the United States has
higher preferences for valuing humane orientation and
perceives it as being effective. In spite of this value,
American culture does not see humane orientation
regularly in practice (House et al., 2004). The cultural
preferences of individualism and masculinity directly
influence the practice of humane orientation. Countries
that exhibit a preference for individualism and

Humane Orientation as a Moral Construct in Ethical Leadership Theories: A Comparative Analysis… 7

masculinity tend to support behaviours that encourage
employees to be responsible for themselves, seek
individual accomplishment over organisational goals,
use competitive engagement, and have an ego orientation
(Hofstede, 2001), all practices that moderate or oppose a
more humane orientation. However, House et al. (2004)
indicated that countries with a lower practice of humane
orientation aspire to a higher humane orientation as
indicated by the United States preference for humane
orientation as a value.

Based upon the general understanding of societal
preferences associated with humane orientation, the
United States does not readily support in practice humane
orientation in leaders. In part, GLOBE indicated that
humane orientation is more prevalent in collectivist
and non-assertive practicing countries. As well, more
economically advanced and urban countries report
less humane orientation practices (House et al., 2004).
Despite these factors, it must be stressed that the United
States does rank high in valuing humane orientation as an
important leadership behaviour.

Response to Ethical Leadership Theories

The culture of the United States as presented by the GLOBE
study does not highly encourage humane orientation
(House et al., 2004). However, ethical leadership has
been shown to be universally accepted, particularly the
universal attributes of honesty, integrity, a coherent set
of moral values, fairness, and transparency (Hanges,
et al., 2016). As previously shown, the constructs of
transformational, servant, and authentic leadership theory
include an ethical and moral component.

American culture, while it does not regularly practice
humane orientation, places a high value on it and sees
it as an effective leadership style. The support and use
of servant leadership, transformational leadership,
and authentic leadership theories highlighting humane
orientation as a construct within the moral component
already present in these theories could be an avenue to put
humane orientation into greater practice within American
culture. Specific to American culture, House et al., (2004)
indicated that mentorship is an expression of the humane
orientation. Transformational leadership expresses
mentorship in the form of individual consideration. Servant

leadership expresses mentorship in the acts of service
toward followers by leaders. Finally, authentic leadership
expresses mentorship in the emphasis on interpersonal
relationships between the leader and followers.

Overall, the United States expresses a desire and support
of leaders who engage in ethical and morally sound
leadership. While cultural norms and organisational
design traditions create some obstacles for implementing
humane orientation leadership behaviours, the desire
for and value placed on humane-oriented leadership
behaviours presents a significant opportunity for the
growth and use of ethical leadership theories within the
American culture.

China

General Cultural Discussion

A collectivist culture, China respects cooperation,
affiliation, and subordination (Whitehead & Brown,
2011). In addition, the Chinese have a high power
distance, strong class divisions, and limited tolerance for
risk and uncertainty (p. 165). Overall, the Chinese value
faithfulness, morality, loyalty and service (p. 167).

Whitehead and Brown (2011) indicated orality as one
of the primary factors in Chinese leadership, along
with integrity, fairness, truth-seeking, consistency, and
being service-oriented (p. 168). The Chinese believe
leadership should reflect simultaneously the principles
of self, others, and community (Whitehead & Brown,
2011). Specifically, Chinese managers take interest and
engage in relationship issues, have interest in the holistic
development of followers, encourage a high degree of self-
directed activity, and use participatory relationships (p.
165). Chinese managers can be both authoritarian, which
relates to the paternalistic traditions of the culture, and
benevolent at the same time. That Chinese culture can be
both authoritarian and participatory and humane-oriented
at the same time, seems paradoxical. The collectivist and
paternalistic cultural values support a more authoritarian
practice in leadership. However, Liden (2012) indicated
that leaders in China are known for their paternalistic
benevolence (p. 206), indicating that the authoritarian
enactment of leadership may be engaged from a stance
of benevolence rather than autocratic dictatorship. In
addition, Whitehead and Brown (2011) presented support

8 International Journal on Leadership Volume 5 Issue 2 October 2017

for participative leadership behaviours in Chinese
managers.

The GLOBE study presented Chinese preferences
for leadership style, as part of Confucian Asia, in the
following order: 1) charismatic/value-based; 2) team-
oriented; 3) humane-oriented; 4) participative; 5)
autonomous; and 6) self-protective (House et al., 2004, p.
688). Preferences for charismatic leadership are a result
of cultural preferences for stronger, guiding, authoritarian
leadership. Preferences for team-oriented and humane-
oriented leadership support benevolence within the leader
as a result of paternalistic traditions.

Humane Orientation Values

Winston and Ryan (2008) discussed the conception of
the Confucian concept of jen as representative of humane
orientation within Confucian Asia. A complex ideal
within Confucian philosophy, jen includes behaviours
and attributes such as benevolence, love, altruism,
kindness, charity, compassion, virtue, goodness, human-
heartedness, humaneness, and humanity (Hirschy, Gomez,
Patterson, & Winston, 2014, p. 100). Jen is generally
considered the general virtue of all moral behaviour and
the foundation of a comprehensive ethical doctrine (p.
100).

The concept of jen, the importance of morality,
humaneness, and the concern for others expressed in the
collectivist cultural norms in China all point to valuing
humane orientation both as a societal value and as a
leadership behaviour. However, Hirschy et al., (2014)
indicated that while the Chinese do value humane
orientation in leadership, they dont always experience
it in practice. Humane orientation societal values for all
countries ranked high, however, Chinas overall ranking
among countries was moderate (House et al., 2004).
The moderate high score in humane orientation practice
stems from Chinas collectivist tradition and societal and
religious norms, such as the concept of jen.

Response to Ethical Leadership Theories

As Winston and Ryan (2008) indicated, a preference
for a leadership value that is not experienced regularly
may be impetus enough for the acceptance of certain
leadership practices. In general, Chinese culture

supports a more humane orientation both in society and
within organisations. The Chinese culture preference of
collectivism and patriarchal structures express humane
orientation as paternalistic benevolence (Liden, 2012).

At the base of these cultural preferences and expressions
lies a firm moral and ethical foundation. Transformational
leadership may appeal to Chinese culture due to the
charismatic leader expressing benevolent leadership
in a more authoritative way. As well, the construct of
individual consideration meets the Chinese desire for
paternalistic benevolence. Servant leadership meets the
service-oriented nature of Chinese leadership expressed
by Whitehead and Brown (2011) and leader interest in
the holistic development of followers (Whitehead &
Brown, 2011, p. 165). As well, the Chinese preference for
meeting self, others and community is expressed in the
overall goals of servant leadership, in particular acting
as a steward for followers and organisations (Winston &
Field, 2015). Authentic leadership meets the preferences
for virtue and goodness expressed in the societal value
placed on integrity and the concepts expressed within
the philosophy of jen, particularly goodness, virtue, and
altruism.

All three theories meet the moral and ethical demand for
integrity and can be expressed in a way that supports both
the collectivist and paternalistic traditions within Chinese
culture. Similar to the United States, the use of these
theories to address the Chinese expressed value of humane
orientation could result in creating more humane-oriented
practices within Chinese organisations and society as a
whole.

Mexico

General Cultural Discussion

Mexican cultural traditions emphasize family, class,
reverence for the past, and status (Howell, DelaCarda,
Martinez, Prieto, Bautista, Ortiz, Dorfman, & Mendez,
2007). A patriarchal society that gives higher status to
masculinity, Mexico mimics the close family structure
in many of its organisations. Deference to those in
positions of authority is expected. However, Mexican
culture supports creating close interpersonal relationships
as a way of accomplishing goals. While Mexicans show
strong in-group collectivism within their family groups,

Humane Orientation as a Moral Construct in Ethical Leadership Theories: A Comparative Analysis… 9

they tend to behave individualistically outside these
groups (p. 450).

Howell et al. (2007) noted that supportive and
relationship-oriented leadership behaviours are important
in Mexican culture. Mexicans value caring, listening,
and understanding as well (p. 451). Directive leadership
behaviours have been effective, reflecting the authoritarian
patron model of elite and powerful military and political
leaders in Mexican history. Charismatic leadership
behaviours support the historical conception of leaders
as spiritual advisors in Mexican culture. While the
participative leadership style has been found to be fairly
ineffective due to the high power distance preference,
more industrialised areas of Mexico show an emerging
preference for more participative leadership (Howell
et al., 2007). In an analysis of media sources, Howell
et al. (2007) reported that Mexicans support socially-
oriented leadership, directive and performance-oriented
leadership, negotiating and bargaining, representative
leadership, and implementing participation.

House et al. (2004) ranked the leadership behaviour
preferences of the Latin American culture clusters, which
includes Mexico, as follows: 1) charismatic/value-based;
2) team-oriented; 3) participative; 4) humane-oriented;
5) autonomous; and 6) self-protective. Support for this
preference order stems from high in-group collectivism,
low performance-orientation, low future-orientation, low
institutional collectivism, and low uncertainty avoidance
(Northouse, 2016).

Humane Orientation Values

Despite a moderate ranking of preferences for humane
oriented social values and leadership behaviours (House
et al., 2004), Mexicans have expressed a desire for
additional self-development and control of their lives,
which has led to an emphasis on follower development
(Howell et al., 2007). In particular, the cultural ideal
of simpatico or the acute sensitivity to the dignity and
worth of the individual expressed through empathy
and respect exemplifies humane orientation leadership
behaviour practiced in Mexican culture. As well, a media
analysis conducted by Howell et al. (2007) revealed
preferences for socially-oriented leadership, supportive
behaviours that engage leaders in helping followers, and
creating harmony and belongingness. These behaviours
also represent humane-oriented leadership behaviours.

Mexicans support more humane-oriented values and
leadership behaviour within the tradition of importance
placed on interpersonal relationships (Howell et al., 2007),
however, it is most likely to be expressed in relation to the
paternalistic tradition of Mexico, viewing the leaders a
benevolent patron to followers (House et al., 2004).

Response to Ethical Leadership Theories

The GLOBE study does not indicate that Mexico
prefers humane-oriented leadership (House et al., 2004).
However, many of the expressed leadership behaviour
indicate a strong desire for more ethically and morally
based leadership that puts follower development and
needs first. In particular, the desire for close relationships,
supportive and relationship-oriented leadership, caring,
listening, understanding and socially-oriented leaders
all support an expressed need for more humane-oriented
leadership that is supported by firm and clear ethics and
morals.

Specifically, transformational leadership meets the
Mexican preference for a charismatic, strong, elite leader
as represented by many of the countrys historical leaders.
As well, the transformational leadership construct of
individual consideration and providing support and
encouragement meet this preference. Servant leadership
supports Mexican preferences for socially-oriented
leaders and close interpersonal relationships. In addition,
the expressed desire for leaders who are caring, who listen,
and who seek to understand meet several of the expressed
behaviours of servant leadership theory. Finally, authentic
leadership meets the preference for Mexican leaders to
be seen as spiritual advisors and the preference for
close and supportive relationships. In particular, authentic
leaderships focus on the real leader and creating
trusting relationships with followers support its use in
Mexican culture.

Conclusion

Humane orientation as a moral construct present within the
ethical leadership theories of transformational leadership,
servant leadership, and authentic leadership supports
the moral and ethical foundations existing in each. Each
theory expresses humane orientation with altruistic and
moral behaviours that focus on relationships with the
follower, development of the follower, and concern for
the follower.

10 International Journal on Leadership Volume 5 Issue 2 October 2017

The United States, China, and Mexico all support and
value humane-oriented leadership behaviours. However,
these countries do not necessarily experience humane-
oriented leadership practices. Humane-oriented leadership
behaviours within these cultures are affected by a variety
of moderating variables including paternalistic traditions,
individualism, power distance, collectivism, religion, and
traditional organisational cultures.

Transformational leadership, servant leadership, and
authentic leadership possess within their constructs
humane-oriented leadership behaviours. Each of these
leadership approaches bears a possibility in being
applicable to each of the various cultures discussed in this
paper. However, as noted within the cultural discussions,
how these specific leadership approaches are expressed
and understood within each culture is dependent upon
cultural norms and traditions. Practice of these ethical
leadership approaches creates an avenue or mechanism
through which leadership practice can meet the expressed
values of humane orientation within the United States,
China, and Mexico.

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Reproduced with permission of copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited
without permission. Valuing and Practicing Competency-Based Supervision:
A Transformational Leadership Perspective

Nadine J. Kaslow
Emory University

Carol A. Falender
Pepperdine University

Catherine L. Grus
American Psychological Association, Washington, DC

A significant culture change to a competency-based approach to supervision reflects the current zeitgeist
in professional psychology education and training. Accreditation, credentialing, regulation, and training
have all been transformed to competency-based approaches. However, the transition within a program to
a competency-based approach is not always smooth. This article addresses specific leadership compe-
tencies that facilitate change, with attention paid to the supervisory process. Because most leaders in
professional psychology have traditionally engaged in transactional leadership, a shift is required to
transformational leadership, a style associated with effective change. As a backdrop to the focus on a
transformational leadership approach and competency-based supervision, this article first overviews the
competencies movement, particularly competency-based clinical supervision. Then transformational
leadership is applied to changing educational and training cultures and climates to ensure the consistent
and comprehensive implementation of a competency-based approach to clinical supervision. Strategies
are offered for implementing such an approach to competency-based clinical supervision, as well as for
overcoming barriers to implementation.

Keywords: competencies, clinical supervision, transformational leadership

After reading and discussing as a group a series of pertinent
articles, Dr. Collegial and her training committee invite a nation-
ally recognized expert in competency-based supervision to provide
a workshop to the training program (faculty, staff, trainees, and
administrators). Following a working lunch with the expert, the
audience breaks up into workgroups to discuss ways the model
could be implemented at their site. This is followed by a retreat 1
month later, in which the training committee creates a step-by-step
plan for shifting the culture from one that supported multi-faceted

approaches to clinical supervision to one that was competency-
based and building upon benchmarks. The group decided to start
with gaining organizational buy-in for the approach by meeting
with administrators to explain the advantages of and need for
change. They agreed to implement one small component of the
culture shift at a time, in a sequential manner that would be
associated with an iterative evaluation process. Once each com-
ponent was successfully instituted, the committee would regroup
and determine the next step based on their experience with prior
implementation. The committee agreed that when resistances or
strains were experienced in the system, they would be approached
thoughtfully, nondefensively, and with open dialogue and flexibility.

Although advocacy for a shift to a culture of competency
(Roberts, Borden, Christiansen, & Lopez, 2005) has occurred
across professional psychology education, training, and regulation
(DeMers, Van Horne, & Rodolfa, 2008; Kaslow et al., 2004;
Nelson, 2007), implementation in training settings has been un-
even. Only recently has a competency-based approach to supervi-
sion gained momentum (Falender et al., 2004; Falender & Shafran-
ske, 2004; Falender & Shafranske, 2007, 2008; Fouad et al., 2009).
Clinical supervision, a hallmark of education and training, is a
significant means to enhance competency and is key to lifelong
learning (Lucock, Hall, & Noble, 2006). However, in many aca-
demic and practice settings, the supervision competence of faculty/
staff supervisors is not consistent with evolving standards of
practice. In addition, those in administrative and/or supervisory
positions often lack requisite transformational leadership style to
foster a culture change. The targeted result of a transformational
culture shift would be a context that values a competency-based

NADINE J. KASLOW, PhD, ABPP, received her doctorate in clinical
psychology from the University of Houston. Professor, Vice Chair for
Faculty Development, Chief Psychologist, and Director of Postdoctoral
Fellowship Training at Emory University School of Medicine, her interests
are in psychology education and training, family violence, and suicide.

CAROL A. FALENDER received her PhD from the University of Wisconsin,
Madison. She is Adjunct Professor, Pepperdine Graduate School of Education
and Psychology, Los Angeles, and Clinical Professor, Department of Psychol-
ogy, University of California, Los Angeles. Dr. Falenders areas of research
include competency-based clinical supervision and supervision ethics.

CATHERINE L. GRUS, PhD, received her doctorate in clinical psychology
from Nova University. She is the Deputy Executive Director for Education
at the American Psychological Association (APA). At APA, Dr. Grus
works to advance policies and practices that promote quality education and
training in professional psychology.

THE AUTHORS CONTRIBUTED equally to this article.
CORRESPONDENCE CONCERNING THIS ARTICLE should be addressed to

Nadine J. Kaslow, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences,
Emory University School of Medicine, Grady Health System, 80 Jesse Hill
Jr Drive NE, Atlanta, GA 30303. E-mail: [emailprotected]

Training and Education in Professional Psychology 2012 American Psychological Association
2012, Vol. 6, No. 1, 4754 1931-3918/12/$12.00 DOI: 10.1037/a0026704

47

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approach to supervision and to the monitoring, feedback, and
assessment of supervisees development, as well as an emphasis on
self-reflection and self-assessment on the part of both supervisors
and supervisees. With inadequate attention to strategies for culture
change and implementation, administrators and program/training
directors may find that their supervising faculty/staff vary in
practices and motivation to change and adopt innovative and new
models. Beyond competency in supervision, supervisors in lead-
ership positions require a new armamentarium of knowledge,
skills, and attitudes to motivate interest in their supervising faculty/
staff in evolving clinical practice and supervision.

This article overviews the current state of the competencies
movement within professional psychology and a competency-
based approach to clinical supervision. This sets the backdrop for
a review of a transformational leadership approach and ways that
it can be utilized to create educational and training environments in
which this model of supervision is adopted, practiced, and highly
valued in all supervisory encounters. Strategies and programmatic
interventions that utilize transformational leadership to overcome
obstacles to creating competency-based supervisory environments
are offered. In the interests of communicating a new framework,
we have presented many of the critical topics and issues in a
focused fashion and space limitations preclude as from expanding
upon these points in detail.

Competencies Movement in Professional Psychology

Building upon prior efforts in the field, including the landmark
work of the National Council of Schools and Programs of Profes-
sional Psychology (Bourg, Bent, McHolland, & Stricker, 1989;
Kenkel & Peterson, 2010; Peterson et al., 1992), the 2002 Com-
petencies Conference was a seminal event in shifting toward a
culture of competence within professional psychology (Kaslow,
2004; Kaslow et al., 2004). Borrowing the definition from the
medical profession, competence is the habitual and judicious use
of communication, knowledge, technical skills, clinical reasoning,
emotions, values, and reflection in daily practice for the benefit of
the individual and community being served (p. 227) (Epstein &
Hundert, 2002). It depends on habits of mind, including attentive-
ness, critical curiosity, self-awareness, and presence.

A product of the conference was a three-dimensional cube with
stages of professional development, foundational, and functional
competencies as the axes (Rodolfa et al., 2005). The foundational
competencies were (a) reflective practice/self-assessment, (b) sci-
entific knowledge and methods, (c) relationships, (d) ethical and
legal standards/policy issues (renamed ethical legal standards and
policy), (e) individual and cultural diversity, and (f) interdisciplin-
ary systems. Professionalism was later added as a foundational
competency, and self-care was added to the reflective practice/
self-assessment competence (Fouad et al., 2009). Functional com-
petencies were (a) assessment/diagnosis/conceptualization (now
termed assessment), (b) intervention, (c) consultation, (d) research/
evaluation, (e) supervision/teaching, and (f) management/
administration. Supervision was later separated from teaching in
the Benchmarks document and advocacy was added as a functional
competency (Fouad et al., 2009). With the publication of the
Benchmarks document (Fouad et al., 2009), foundational and
functional competencies were articulated in terms of their essential
components. Behavioral anchors were provided to guide the un-

derstanding of expected level of performance for readiness for
practicum, internship, and entry to practice. These behavioral
anchors serve as a useful guide with regard to structuring the
pedagogy and supervision at each level of training and providing
formative and summative feedback.

The routine, systematic, and institutional assessment of compe-
tence also has been advocated as part of this culture shift (Roberts
et al., 2005). Competency assessment has transitioned from input
to output (Roe, 2002). In input-driven training, faculty and super-
visors determined requisite coursework and activities including
hours of supervised clinical experience and the totality of that
experience comprised graduate training, practicum, and internship.
The shift to output requires deliberate attention to the assessment
of resultant competencies of the supervisee, that is the knowledge,
skills, and attitudes and their integration that comprise the func-
tioning of a developing psychologist at each level of training. The
Competency Assessment Toolkit for Professional Psychology was
created to guide evaluators in making the shift to assessing the
various foundational and functional competencies (Kaslow et al.,
2009). This toolkit defines and describes 15 different competency
assessment methods and provides information about the founda-
tional and functional competencies and their essential components
for which each method is recommended, the value of the method
for both formative and summative evaluation, and the stages of
professional development for which the approach is most advan-
tageous. The toolkit also addresses the psychometric properties,
strength, and challenges of each approach. The change from an
input to output model and the movement toward competency
assessment necessitate changes in pedagogy and the structure,
process, skills and attitudes regarding supervision.

Competency-Based Approach to Supervision

There is growing consensus that supervision is a core functional
competency (Falender et al., 2004; Fouad et al., 2009; Kaslow,
2004; Kaslow et al., 2004; Rodolfa et al., 2005). The cornerstone
in educating and training professional psychologists, it is a collab-
orative interpersonal process that entails education and training
aimed at developing science-informed practice (Falender &
Shafranske, 2004). It is an intervention by a more senior member
to a more junior member embodying an evaluative relationship
that extends over time. Supervisors have multiple responsibilities:
enhancing the professional functioning of the more junior person,
monitoring the quality of professional services offered to the
client/patient, and serving as a gatekeeper (Bernard & Goodyear,
2009). Superordinate values of the supervisory process include
integrity, ethics-based practice, and appreciation of diversity (Fal-
ender & Shafranske, 2004). Supervision involves (a) observation;
(b) facilitation of supervisee self-assessment; (c) acquisition of
knowledge and skills by instruction, modeling, and mutual prob-
lem-solving; (d) feedback and evaluation; and (e) role-modeling
and support of self-care. Essential components articulated in the
benchmarks include: (a) familiarity with the expectations and roles
of the supervision process; (b) appreciation for the processes and
procedures associated with supervision; (c) development of super-
visory skills; (d) awareness of individual and cultural diversity
factors affecting the quality of the supervisory process and rela-
tionships; (e) participation in the supervision process; and (f)
command and application of the relevant ethical, legal, and pro-

48 KASLOW, FALENDER, AND GRUS

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fessional standards and guidelines. By recognizing the strengths
and talents of the supervisee, supervision can encourage self-
efficacy. In addition, ethical standards, legal prescriptions, and
professional practices can be collaboratively addressed in a man-
ner that is geared to promoting and protecting the welfare of the
client/patient, profession, and society at large (Falender &
Shafranske, 2004).

Multiple supervision models have been delineated (Westefeld,
2009): common factors (Morgan & Sprenkle, 2007), developmen-
tal (Stoltenberg & McNeill, 2010), interpersonal (Ladany, Fried-
lander, & Nelson, 2005), parallel process (McNeil & Worthen,
1989), multicultural (Ancis & Ladany, 2010; Constantine, 2003),
common factors (Morgan & Sprenkle, 2007), and integrative (Lee
& Everett, 2004). Competency-based supervision builds upon and
incorporates the aforementioned models (Falender & Shafranske,
2004; Falender & Shafranske, 2007, 2008); identifies the knowl-
edge, skills, and attitudes expected for trainees at a given stage of
professional development with regard to the competency do-
main(s) in which they are being supervised; and assists the student
in meeting criterion-referenced competence standards (Falender &
Shafranske, 2007). This approach has been applied to supervision
practiced from different perspectives (Farber & Kaslow, 2010):
cognitivebehavioral (Newman, 2010), psychodynamic (Frawley-
ODea & Sarnat, 2001; Sarnat, 2010), humanistic-existential (Far-
ber, 2010), family systems (Celano, Smith, & Kaslow, 2010;
Kaslow, Celano, & Stanton, 2005) and integrative (Boswell, Nel-
son, Nordberg, McAleavey, & Castonguay, 2010).

The supervisory relationship is transparent and has simultaneous
functions: (a) clarifying supervisory goals and tasks, which can be
formalized in a mutually crafted supervision contract; (b) facili-
tating a context that supports reflection, exploration, and learning;
(c) fostering competence; (d) assuring practice informed by sci-
ence and vice versa; (e) promoting accountability and ethical
practice; (f) monitoring the quality of the services provided; (g)
offering formative feedback; evaluating performance; and (h) serv-
ing as a gatekeeper. These myriad responsibilities are associated
with tensions between maintaining a productive supervisory rela-
tionship, mentoring, advocating, and gatekeeping. Balancing these
multiple functions is a supervisory challenge (Johnson, 2007).
Competency-based frames provide structure and calibration, as-
sisting supervisor and supervisee to track supervisee develop-
mentbut all is predicated on the supervisory relationship of trust
(Bernard & Goodyear, 2009; Falender & Shafranske, 2004).

Just as the time has come to stop just talking about competencies
and start actually using them (Bieschke et al., 2009), the time is
now for articulating strategies for supervisors to integrate a com-
petency framework into their practice. Doing so requires organi-
zational endorsement of the competency-based model, a specific
game plan, tools for assessing competencies, and strategies for
addressing organizational structures and culture (Kenkel, 2009).
Such culture change is most likely to occur if it is guided by an
effective leader and leadership approach.

Transitioning to Transformational Leadership

The leaders of culture change (e.g., training directors, psychol-
ogy administrators, deans), can benefit from familiarity with cur-
rent trends in leadership, many of which have originated in the
business and organizational development fields. Leadership com-

petence is essential as the change process is challenging, with
predictable obstacles that can be overcome. Leadership requires
social skills to mobilize people to accomplish key objectives
despite barriers such as politics or power struggles (Kotter, 1985).

Transformational leadership is a significant change from trans-
actional leadership, which has characterized many psychology
administrators and supervisors historically.

Transactional leaders create clear structures and communicate
what is expected of their subordinates and the rewards and pun-
ishments that will emerge contingent upon performance. A prac-
tical approach, transactional leadership focuses on meeting desig-
nated and specific targets or objectives (Aarons, 2006). In contrast,
while transactional leadership does not encourage innovative
thinking or proactive planning, transformational leadership creates
a vision within which subordinates are encouraged to exceed
projections and think proactively and creatively. Many have as-
serted that effective leaders combine elements of transformational
and transactional approaches (Bass, 1998) and indeed, such com-
bination is likely to be optimal for those who lead culture shifts to
competency-based supervision.

A transformational leadership style reflects the leaders person-
ality, traits, and capacity to effect change and benefit the team/
organization via example. Transformational leaders are trustwor-
thy, respected, instill pride, and are strong role models for ethical
behavior. Articulating the vision in a way that motivates others to
subscribe, they challenge assumptions and encourage and nurture
innovation and creativity. They personalize training and opportu-
nities, attend to individual needs, celebrate contributions, and
mentor accordingly (Bass, 1998). Typically, transformational lead-
ers are charismatic and visionary (Burns, 1978).

Transformational leaders employ a number of processes though
evolution, revolution, or a combination of the two (Corrigan &
Boyle, 2003). They support team processes that serve as precon-
ditions for transformation: strong working relationships, shared
goals among team members, and use of cohesiveness to enhance
effectiveness (Corrigan & Garman, 1999). They build teams that
work collaboratively with them to effect change. This often is
accomplished via mentoring, coaching, role-modeling and gener-
ally building upon relationships supporting change. They ensure
these teams are cohesive via the use of inspiration and charisma,
intellectual stimulation, and attention to considerations of individ-
uals. Inspiration and charisma are activated by empowering team
members through the encouragement of development and engage-
ment in innovation.

To enhance intellectual stimulation, transformational leaders en-
courage the team to address system change critically. They also
provide educational resources that can offer a framework that will
assist team members in understanding the changes to be made. To
support the development of individual interests and the unique
strengths of team members, particularly as these correspond to the
change goals, they empower team members through providing train-
ing opportunities or flexible job assignments or linking team mem-
bers goals and strengths to corresponding aspects of the vision.
Empowerment increases ownership of the team, with cohesion in-
creasing as team members gain control over decision making.
Through mirroring, valuing vision, and being open to innovation,
leaders transform others to be helpful, encouraging, and harmonious
to benefit the organization as whole (Aarons, 2006).

49TRANSFORMING THE SUPERVISION CULTURE

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Transformational leaders motivate participants to personally
take initiative and may find techniques from the field of behavioral
decision-making helpful for doing so (Tversky & Kahneman,
1974). One such technique is attention, which involves directing
participants focus continually on the desired concept and on
behaviors that conform with or depart from the goal. A second
strategy is anchoring, in which the participants performance and
conduct are anchored vividly to the goal. Through repeatedly
focusing attention on the goal, such as supervising with a focus on
specific competencies, transformational leaders provide anchors
that offer structure to support behavioral transformation.

Positive outcomes associated with a transformational leadership
style include higher levels of motivation, performance, morale, and
satisfaction of all of the individuals within the system, as well as more
positive group and organizational functioning (Judge & Piccolo,
2004). An additional benefit is developing followers into leaders.

Transformational Leadership and Competency-Based
Supervision

The following is a blueprint for initiating, instituting, and im-
plementing a culture change within an educational/training context
to ensure an ongoing value on competency-based supervision and
a commitment to utilizing such an approach in a consistent and
dedicated fashion by all supervisors.

First, there needs to be a committed leader/leadership team that
has the energy, enthusiasm, and passion to engage other educators/
trainers in the change process required to develop a competency-
based supervisory culture. While an individual could lead this
change process, it is most effective if coordinated by a team. The
team can be forged at the outset, at a later phase, or can evolve over
the course of the culture shift.

Second, a transformational leader/leadership team strives to
ensure that everyone is informed about competency-based super-
vision, as knowledge is power. This likely necessitates inviting
knowledgeable speakers to provide continuing professional edu-
cation, in the form of colloquia, continuing education workshops,
mini seminars, and so forth Single session events, while able to set
the stage, do not provide adequate continuing professional educa-
tion or support for change (Campbell, Silver, Sherbino, Cate, &
Holmboe, 2010; Mansouri & Lockyer, 2007). Thus, it is valuable
to provide relevant readings and have interactive discussions
through online learning communities, supervisor seminars, or peer
supervision of supervision groups. The formation and support of
these latter groups affords participants the opportunity to share
their supervisory efforts with colleagues and receive input, which
bolsters their competence as supervisors. Such ongoing dialogues,
particularly when they utilize multiple methods, strengthen the
systems motivation for change. Another element of establishing a
context in which all supervisors are well-informed is to value and
model self-assessment of supervisor competence (Falender et al.,
2004; Rings, Genuchi, Hall, Angelo, & Cornish, 2009), which
conveys to supervisees the importance of self-assessment. Such
assessments should guide lifelong learning and ongoing self-
reflection (Kaslow et al., 2007; Kerns, Berry, Frantsve, & Linton,
2009; Lambert, Lurie, Lyness, & Ward, 2010; Neimeyer, Taylor,
& Wear, 2009; Wise et al., 2010).

Third, it behooves the transformational leader/leadership team
to organize retreats or other intensive working meetings to create

a shared vision that values a competency-based supervision cul-
ture. Involving all parties in the discourse elevates the importance
to the system and its members of this approach. Steps include
operationalizing the vision into short and long-term goals, linking
vision to a strategy for attainment and associated goals, and com-
municating to all relevant parties. The leaders and key partners
generate optimism about the vision and its implementation, teach
by example new behaviors associated with vision attainment, and
empower others to act on the vision.

Prior to initiating change, it helps if the leader/leadership team
considers the systems readiness to change in accord with a tran-
stheoretical model (Prochaska & Norcross, 2009). Conducting
such an assessment and enhancing the groups motivation for
change in an overt and transparent fashion models the value of
incorporating such a perspective in supervisory endeavors (Aten,
Strain, & Gillespie, 2008). In keeping with the transtheoretical
model, the leader/leadership team activates an intentional change
process, which can facilitate buy-in within the educational/training
context and possibly the broader organization (Boyatzis, 2008).
This effort can be guided by intentional change theory, in which
the ideal supervisory/training context is held up against the current
environment (Boyatzis, 2006). Comparing and contrasting the two
and ascertaining the cultures strengths and areas for improvement
supports the groups development of a shared vision for the future
and steps that can be taken to move forward. At the culmination of
such gatherings, participants should be encouraged to experiment
with new behaviors and thoughts related to supervision. Doing so
sustains hope of attaining a culture change and supports practice to
mastery. Trying new actions should be linked to multisource
feedback (input from subordinates, peers, supervisors, and self),
which fosters insight, self-discovery, and enhanced competence. It
is essential that the setting be safe with mutual trusting relation-
ships; only through security in the environment can there be
growth, change, and development of leadership potential.

Fourth, ongoing meetings will serve to integrate a competency-
based supervisory culture. In addition to faculty/staff supervisors,
some meetings might include students and others might include
administrators. Through these follow-up encounters, more signif-
icant buy-in from all constituency groups will be fostered. Resis-
tances to change can be addressed using the strategies suggested in
the next section. In addition frequent and ongoing interactions with
all parties enables a transformational leader to focus on the desired
concepts and goals and highlight behaviors that conform to the
goal. Doing so provides an anchoring function for change (Tversky
& Kahneman, 1974).

Finally, ongoing feedback should occur with regard to imple-
menting a competency-based supervisory culture and its efficacy.
Ongoing and consistent feedback is solicited, thoughtfully consid-
ered, and responded to in a meaningful way. There are multiple
ways the transformation to a competency-based supervisory cul-
ture can be measured and the embedded nature of the evaluation of
the supervisory experience can be ascertained. First, supervisee
self-assessment, shared goal setting, collaborative monitoring, and
constructive formative and summative feedback are linked to the
expected developmental trajectory of the foundational and func-
tional competencies in accord with the Benchmarks document and
the local context. Such feedback must attend to strengths and areas
requiring improvement. Second, supervisors model transparency
to the team, demonstrating that they engage in ongoing self-

50 KASLOW, FALENDER, AND GRUS

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assessment that recognizes and assesses lifelong learning; self-
reflect regarding their attainment of relevant supervision compe-
tencies and ways to continue to advance their development in this
competency domain; and are sensitive to privilege and oppression
among client/patient, supervisee/therapist, and supervisor (Vargas,
Porter, & Falender, 2008). Third, the respectful and collaborative
supervision process is marked by mutual (2-way) feedback and
continuing attention to the supervision relationship, including
awareness of, attention, and use of metacommunication to repair
strains and ruptures in the supervisory relationship (Safran, Muran,
Stevens, & Rothman, 2008). Fourth, attention is devoted to client/
patient outcomes, tracked via client/patient self-report and super-
visee/therapist ratings. Assessment of outcomes includes supervi-
sory satisfaction and alliance ratings, supervisory disclosures,
awareness of triggers to emotional reactivity, and attention to fine
tuning of the supervisory process based upon feedback from all
relevant parties.

Transformational Leadership To Overcome Barriers
to Competency-Based Supervision

The training director attends an all-day training on
competency-based supervision. She returns to work, interested in
putting this approach into practice. She circulates the materials
from the conference and informs her staff that effective the next
Monday, the program will use this model. She plans a two hour
meeting for early the next semester to check in with the supervisors
about how the program is going. Immediately she hears about
push-back, though no one approaches het directly. Students come
to her confused about how they are going to be assessed in light of
this shift. She is mystified about the resistance to this approach, as
it seems consistent with programs newly instituted emphasis on
evidence-based practice. Recognizing the concerns, she realizes
she needs to slow down the implementation and get more buy-in.
To this end, she invites supervisor and trainee volunteers to form
a work group to create a vision, plan, and evaluation strategy for
the culture shift. She is mindful not to have too large of a work
group, yet recognizes the need to engage all members of the
training environment in the culture change.

Effective transformational leadership teams are cognizant of the
barriers to change within and outside of their organizational cul-
ture. The following are commonly encountered barriers to moving
toward and valuing a culture of competency-based supervision,
and recommendations for overcoming these obstacles.

Leaders may encounter resistance to their new vision. To coun-
ter this resistance, they may elect to use an array of strategies in an
effort to overcome barriers and modify systems that appear incom-
patible with a culture of competency-based supervision. Resistance
may appear in the form of fear mongering, death by delay, con-
fusion, ridicule and character assassination (Kotter & Whitehead,
2010). Leaders are encouraged to respond by preparing carefully
for institutional buy-in; respectfully soliciting and acknowledging
input; and capturing attention and defusing attacks through com-
munications that are clear, simple, and based on good common
sense. They must bring the vision to fruition through successive
approximation leading to full implementation, consolidate prog-
ress and produce more change, and institutionalize new approaches
that allow for full attainment of the vision and continued evolution
of the vision as the system grows and changes (Kotter, 1995).

Reading business self-help and metaphorical stories of overcoming
resistance to change may be useful (e.g., Blanchard et al., 2009;
Kotter & Whitehead, 2010; Kotter & Rathgeber, 2005).

Vision is not enough. Team members want to understand the
rationale for the transformation (Corrigan, Garman, Canar, & Lam,
1999). One factor that may make such understanding challenging
is a disconnection between what the leadership say they value and
how they actually behave (Brainard & Brislen, 2007). Both super-
visors and trainees who witness mixed messages regarding the
value of supervision may feel disengaged from or react negatively
toward the supervisory process or may engage in conflict with
leadership regarding the importance of supervision. A transforma-
tional leadership strategy for overcoming this barrier is to develop
a collaborative approach that focuses on the implementation and
assessment of and accountability for supervision (Smith, Saavedra,
Raeke, & ODonell, 2007).

Another challenge relates to the diversity of values of individ-
uals within the system (Chin, 2010; Chin, Lott, Rice, & Sanchez-
Hucles, 2007). Diversity of opinions can be valuable and must be
respected. However, such diversity may be problematic if it per-
tains to the value placed on supervision or if there is variability in
the supervisory processes that are supported in terms of a lack of
consistency in approach to training, insensitivity to the develop-
mental level of both the supervisors and the supervisees, and actual
conflict. Transformational leaders capitalize on the different values
of their team members by realizing the performance potential
associated with the diversity, highlighting the strengths of each of
the perspectives, assisting in the negotiation among conflicting or
difference perspectives, and ensuring that such differences are not
associated with negative consequences (Kearney & Gebert, 2009).

An additional potential obstacle is lack of consideration to the
contextual and situational influences with regard to change. Trans-
formational leaders are attuned to the prior, current, and emerging
contexts in which leaders and followers are dynamically embedded
(Avolio, 2007). They are sensitive to the organizational climate
and cognizant that they are an integral part of the system and both
influence and are impacted by the situational context (Avolio,
2007). To institute change, transformational leaders confront and
reshape the organizational context or they harness it (Pawar &
Eastman, 1997). They recognize the need for guiding changes in
the followers cognitions and motivational states and in attaining
changes in the overarching institutional and larger professional
psychology cultural context (Pawar, 2003).

It is impossible to build an effective leadership team when
maladaptive power dynamics permeate. On one hand, this may
occur as rigid or autocratic leadership marked by unilateral
decision-making, overcontrol, and reliance on error correction
(Corrigan et al., 1999). When only the leader takes charge of the
change process, there may be no buy-in and/or there may be
push-back, and change is unlikely to occur (Kotter, 2005). When
change is mandated from the top, but left for implementation to
those lower in the hierarchy, those responsible feel helpless (Ei-
sold, 2009). At the other end of the continuum are laissez-faire
leaders who assume insufficient levels of responsibility and shy
away from difficult decisions (Corrigan et al., 1999). When sys-
tems are leaderless, change is unlikely and members often feel
frustrated and impotent.

What strategies can be taken when the leader resists transform-
ing the system, but other members of the system (e.g., junior

51TRANSFORMING THE SUPERVISION CULTURE

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faculty or supervisors, trainees) are motivated for change? Con-
cerned parties can meet with the leader to address the negative
consequences of the status quo or of the lack of a team approach
to change. Examples of such consequences may include risks to
program accreditation, lower levels of productivity and morale,
potential legal liability related to accountability, and problems with
recruitment and retention. It may be valuable to recommend that
all leaders participate in a 360 degree feedback process with an
associated action plan following the receipt of the input (Kaslow et
al., 2009), so that everyone engages in increased self-reflection and
self-awareness and a greater commitment to personal change to
improve the system. In dialogues with relevant parties it can
advantageous to reframe the culture of leadership within the or-
ganization to one characterized by compassion, engagement of all
members in the change process, and the creation and implemen-
tation of a shared vision. When problematic power dynamics are in
play and are not effectively addressed from inside the system, an
outside consultant may help effect change.

Concluding Comments

Supervision is a distinct professional practice requiring specific
articulated training and competence (Falender & Shafranske,
2007). Training in supervisory competencies is crucial for ensuring
effective professional practice of new members of the health care
workforce (Tebes et al., 2011). Several states (e.g., California)
have adopted supervisory training requirements to increase the
likelihood that supervisors and those they supervise perform opti-
mally (http://www.psychboard.ca.gov/lawsregs/archive/
supervision-regs.shtml).

Competency-based supervision models describe a proactive
strengths-based approach that is most successful when the local
context is taken into account (Falender & Shafranske, 2004; Fal-
ender & Shafranske, 2008; Kaslow & Bell, 2008). They are
metatheoretical and can be applied to any theoretical approach
(Farber & Kaslow, 2010), specialty (Celano et al., 2010; France et
al., 2008; Kerns et al., 2009; Knight, Karel, Hinrichsen, Qualls, &
Duffy, 2009; Stucky, Bush, & Donders, 2010) or context (Hatcher
& Lassiter, 2007; Kaslow, Dunn, & Smith, 2008).

Transforming a supervisory culture is not a linear process.
Transformational change does not happen overnight. Rather mov-
ing toward system-wide competency based supervision may pose
significant challenges with regard to time, energy, and human
resources, and financial capital may be required to institute such
changes. In addition, gaining buy-in is likely to be a complex
process in many training environments. These challenges are very
real issues in training programs and as such warrant specific
attention and accommodations need to be made based on the local
context. However, the resultant increased accountability and more
outcome-focused training over time likely will make such an
investment beneficial. Seeing small changes over time hopefully
will create a momentum that will catapult the system further
forward.

For a transformation to be effective, it must be collegial and
collaborative, rather than a top-down effort (Kotter & Whitehead,
2010). The approach must respect the diversity of the participants
and be creative in design and implementation (Chin, 2010; Chin et
al., 2007; Kearney & Gebert, 2009). All individuals within a
transforming system must be open to change and to continued

professional and personal development. Individuals and groups
whose efforts are exemplary with regard to goal attainment should
be acknowledged and rewarded (Judge & Piccolo, 2004).
Throughout the change process and its ongoing implementation,
progress and the efficacy of the change must be assessed using
different methodologies and by securing and valuing input from all
relevant constituency groups.

When a transformational leadership process regarding
competency-based supervision is effective, it will lead to an em-
powered dynamic culture (Smith, Montagno, & Kuzmenko,
2004). There will be a high level of interpersonal trust, openness,
playfulness, and group cohesion (Corrigan, Diwan, Campion, &
Rashid, 2003; Gillespie & Mann, 2004; Isaksen, 2007). Not only
will burnout be minimized (Corrigan et al., 2003), but the psycho-
logical well-being of all members of the training culture will be
enhanced (Arnold, Turner, Barling, Kelloway, & McKee, 2007).
Trainees will receive higher quality supervision, which will enable
them to be more competent practitioners. Of course, it will be
imperative that empirical studies be conducted in the future that
examine both the benefits and challenges of a competency-based
approach to supervision, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of
a transformational leadership approach associated with shifting the
culture toward one that values the comprehensive, implementation
of competency-based supervision.

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Received June 5, 2011
Revision received November 1, 2011

Accepted November 15, 2011

54 KASLOW, FALENDER, AND GRUS

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research and create a consensus around best practices in clinical supervision have intensified. Best practices are different from, but complementary to, statements of supervision competencies. They are based on available empirical research, credentialing, ethical, and legal guidelines, and consensus opinion. Supervision practices that integrate best practices can help ensure quality service delivery and effective supervision for supervisees.

DESCRIPTION

Clinical supervision is a fundamental component of social work practice, where a supervisor oversees the work of a supervisee. The relationship between the supervisor and supervisee is critical to the success of the supervision process, and a lack of effective communication can adversely impact outcomes. A situation that often arises in social work practice is diversity between the supervisor and supervisee, which can result in misinterpretations and misunderstandings.

In such situations, supervisors must employ techniques that will build a positive supervisory relationship, enhance understanding of cultural differences, build trust and promote open communication. Two techniques that can be used are reflective listening and cultural humility. Reflective listening is an active listening skill, where the supervisee’s thoughts and feelings are echoed by the supervisor, and the message is paraphrased and summarized. Cultural humility involves an ongoing process of self-reflection and self-awareness, recognizing and challenging power imbalances, and developing mutual respect and trust.

Transformational leadership skills can also be used in situations where diversity is present between the supervisor and the supervisee. Transformational leadership encourages followers to exceed their own interests and work towards a shared vision. A supervisor can use these skills to transcend the differences and create a shared goal that is inclusive and respectful of each other’s cultural differences. This approach can help build a positive supervisory relationship, enhance outcomes for clients, and foster the professional development of the supervisee.

Objectives:
1. To understand the concept of best practices in clinical supervision.
2. To identify techniques for addressing diversity between a supervisor and supervisee.
3. To apply transformational leadership skills in a supervision situation.

Learning Outcomes:
1. Participants will be able to differentiate between competency statements and best practices in clinical supervision.
2. Participants will be able to identify at least two techniques for addressing diversity in a supervision situation.
3. Participants will be able to apply transformational leadership skills in a supervision situation involving diversity.

Description:
The article highlights the importance of best practices in clinical supervision and how it can be informed by empirical research, ethical and legal guidelines and consensus opinion. The objective of the exercise is to identify techniques for addressing diversity in a supervision situation and how the principles of transformational leadership can be applied. Participants are expected to understand the process of creating best practices and how it could be adapted to cross-disciplinary and country-specific needs.

Techniques:
The techniques that could be used in a situation involving diversity could involve first recognizing and acknowledging the diversity issue. This could be followed by actively listening to the supervisee and seeking to understand their perspective. One could also consider how power dynamics are impacted by the diversity issue. Another technique could be to engage in mutually agreed-upon goal-setting that involves acknowledging the diversity issue and finding mutually agreed-upon solutions that take into account both the supervisor’s and supervisee’s needs.

Transformational Leadership Skills:
Transformational leadership skills can be applied by coaching the supervisee in a manner that fosters growth and development while acknowledging their individual needs. By providing clear communication and asking open-ended questions, the supervisor can also work to build trust and rapport with the supervisee. Finally, the leader can work to orient the supervisee towards a shared vision that takes into account both the supervisor’s needs and the supervisee’s needs.

Solution 1: Addressing Cultural Differences in Clinical Supervision

Supervision can be challenging when there are cultural differences between the supervisor and supervisee. For example, if a social work supervisor identifies as white and the supervisee identifies as a person of color, this may create tension in the supervisory relationship. One technique that can be used in this situation is to openly acknowledge and discuss the cultural differences between the supervisor and supervisee. The supervisor can initiate this conversation by asking the supervisee how their cultural background influences their approach to social work practice. This can help to build rapport and mutual understanding in the supervisory relationship.

Another technique that can be used in this situation is to incorporate cultural humility into the supervisory process. Cultural humility means acknowledging and respecting the differences between people without making assumptions or judgments based on those differences. The supervisor can model cultural humility by being open to learning from the supervisee’s perspective and recognizing the limitations of their own cultural knowledge.

As a supervisor, it is important to use transformational leadership skills in this situation. Transformational leadership involves empowering and inspiring others to reach their full potential. In the context of clinical supervision, this means creating a safe and supportive environment where the supervisee feels comfortable discussing cultural differences. The supervisor can also provide resources for the supervisee to learn more about cultural humility and help them to integrate this approach into their practice.

Solution 2: Addressing Language Barriers in Clinical Supervision

Another situation where diversity may be present in clinical supervision is when there is a language barrier between the supervisor and supervisee. For example, if the supervisor speaks only English and the supervisee speaks primarily Spanish, this may create challenges in communication and understanding.

One technique that can be used in this situation is to find a bilingual interpreter or translator who can assist in the supervisory process. This person can help to facilitate communication between the supervisor and supervisee, ensuring that both parties have a clear understanding of what is being discussed.

Another technique that can be used is to incorporate visual aids and nonverbal communication into the supervisory process. This can help to overcome language barriers by providing alternative ways of communicating information. For example, the supervisor can use diagrams or pictures to illustrate key concepts, or use gestures and facial expressions to convey meaning.

As a supervisor, it is important to use transformational leadership skills in this situation as well. This means being empathetic to the challenges that the supervisee may be facing due to the language barrier, and providing support and encouragement to overcome those challenges. The supervisor can also provide resources for the supervisee to improve their language skills, such as language classes or immersion programs.

Available Resources/Books:
1. “Handbook of Clinical Supervision: A Comprehensive Guide to Practice and Research” by Janine M. Bernard and Rodney K Goodyear
2. “Clinical Supervision in the Helping Professions: A Practical Guide” by Gerald E. Corey, Robert Haynes, Patrice Moulton, and Michelle Muratori
3. “Ethical and Legal Issues in Clinical Supervision” by George R. Holmes and Lori Ann Christiansen

Similar Asked Questions:
1. What are some important aspects of effective clinical supervision?
2. How can supervisors address diversity and cultural differences in supervision?
3. How does reflective practice enhance the effectiveness of clinical supervision?
4. What is the role of ethics in clinical supervision?
5. How can technology be used to facilitate clinical supervision?

Situation Description:
As a social work supervisor, I was working with a supervisee who had a different cultural background than me. We were both aware of this aspect of diversity in our working relationship and how it could potentially impact our communication. The supervisee often felt hesitant to share their perspective and ideas during supervision sessions.

Techniques to Use:
1. Cultural Humility: As a technique, Cultural Humility requires acknowledging and respecting different cultural backgrounds without preconceived ideas or stereotypes. As the supervisor, I would work towards creating a safe space where the supervisee could comfortably share their thoughts and ideas.
2. Active Listening: Another technique that I would employ is active listening, which involves fully engaging and paying attention to what the supervisee is saying and asking questions to clarify any misunderstandings. This would help to promote trust and open communication in supervision sessions.

Using Transformational Leadership Skills:
Transformational leadership skills could be useful in this situation to promote a positive and supportive working relationship. Transformational leaders encourage and inspire their followers to achieve their goals and strive for excellence. In this case, I would use my leadership position to empower the supervisee to take an active role in their professional development and work towards their goals. By valuing and respecting their unique cultural perspective, I would build trust, promote a positive working relationship, and support the supervisee in their career growth.

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