John Adair’s Action-Centred Leadership model has been hugely influential. It’s an ideal blueprint for leadership and management that can be adjusted around any team, group, or organisation. It’s simple enough to understand, easy to remember, and relatively simple to apply or adapt on the fly, so all strong managers and leaders should understand this model.
What is the Action-Centred Leadership Model?
The Action-Centred Leadership model revolves around three key areas, and leaders and managers should be able to pick and choose from each area according to changing needs and situations. If you’re able to balance all these things, you should be able to:
- Build Morale
- Achieve Strong Results
- Improve Work Quality
- Develop Strong Teams
- Improve Productivity
The three parts of Adair’s Action-Centred Leadership model are:
- Achieving the Task
- Managing the Team or Group
- Managing Individuals
These areas are commonly represented by three overlapping circles. In fact, this is a trademarked image belonging to John Adair, and it’s one of the most instantly recognisable symbols within management theory.
Your Responsibilities for Achieving the Task
As a manager looking to Achieve the Task, your responsibilities start with identifying the aims and vision of the group, as well as its overall purpose and direction. Essentially, you will be defining the objective. You’ll also need to identify your resources, whether that means people, processes, or physical tools.
Next, create your plan to achieve the task. Responsibilities should be established, as should objectives, accountabilities, and measures. You’ll set standards, monitor team performance, and report on progress towards the group’s overall aim. It helps to review, re-assess, and adjust based around how your team performs.
Your Responsibilities for Managing the Team or Group
It’s important to establish standards of performance and behaviour as soon as possible. You should agree on these standards and then see that they are properly communicated across the whole group. Early-on is also the time to establish the culture and approach of the group, but you’ll also want to monitor and maintain discipline, integrity, and focus.
Managing also means considering your objectives, but you should be more closely focused on the performance of your team. Make sure any inter-group conflicts or disagreements are anticipated and then resolved, and take the time to address any changes in the balance or composition of the group. Above all, facilitate effective internal and external communication, and keep your team motivated towards its overall goal. Regular feedback should be provided.
Your Responsibilities for Managing the Individual
Appreciating the personality, skills, strengths, needs, aims, and concerns of individual team members is important, and you should assist individuals in their own development. Adjust individual responsibilities and objectives, and make sure you provide plenty of recognition and praise as well as constructive criticism. Reward superior performance with extra responsibility, advancement, or status, and take the opportunity to develop key capabilities and strengths.