What IS leadership? Part 2… John Adair

John Adair was a proper academic thinker on leadership. He put forward his “Action Centred Leadership” model in the 70s. But it is still completely valid today.

His idea was that leadership comes down to the ACTIONS you take across three intersecting domains. Achieving the TASKS. Building the TEAM. And supporting the INDIVIDUALS.

In other words, you have to get the job done, but you have to take care of the people too. I talk about it all here…

John Adair suggests that leaders must balance their actions in three domains.

  • Actions that support the completion of the tasks the team is responsible for.
  • Actions that build the team.
  • Actions that support, and grow, the individuals you work with.

Leaders need to take ACTION in ALL THREE of these domains.

And new leaders can often get the balance wrong. Either focussing too heavily on the tasks, and not enough time on the people. Or spending too much time building relationships and looking after people, at the expense of actually getting the job done.

By the way… In my last video, I suggested that leadership is about: understanding what’s going on, figuring out what needs to happen, and working with people to make it happen.

This can sound very “task” focussed. But it doesn’t have to be.

Sometimes “what’s going on” is that the team is really stretched and stressed. Or morale is really low. Or ONE person has had a serious problem. And the “what needs to happen” is action to deal with those situations.

So… Where are you right now? Balanced across all three? Or not spending enough time in one or two areas?

If you’re not balancing “tasks” and “people” effectively, your leadership is lopsided. Try to straighten yourself up!


Published by bencosh

Helping new leaders make a flying start.

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