Numerous traditional theories and paradigms of leadership purport to describe what leadership is. It is difficult to reconcile these traditional approaches however if each one alone independent of the others is viewed as capturing the actual identity of leadership. In this article we take an integrative view of traditional approaches to leadership. To do so we first identify some underlying ideas common to them. Next we explain how these underlying ideas lead us to a fundamental theory about close relationships—that is self-expansion theory which refers to a psychological process in which an individual incorporates another into the self (Aron & Aron 1986). We then review the traditional leadership theories to explore whether these theories may be linked through self-expansion theory and whether selfexpansio may help to explain why boundary conditions have been discovered for all of them. In this process we explore whether traditional approaches to leadership might also be linked with more contemporary approaches through self-expansion theory. Finally we discuss the implications for future research and professional practice of the integration of traditional approaches to leadership.
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