The Action Centred Leadership theory was devised by John Adair in 1973 and consists of three elements which always influence the role of a leader in any given situation: the task, the team and the individual. Adair proposes that a good leader must consider all three elements at all times in order to successfully balance the needs of the business and its staff.
A leader must keep the overall objective in mind when dealing with day to day situations. Task cohesion within a team of employees can be a very powerful management tool to bring people together to work collectively in achieving a set objective.
Although task cohesion is important it is only truly effective if coupled with social-cohesion. Ensuring the team work effectively together in alignment is crucial for developing an effective and efficient workforce.
Groups consist of individuals and addressing the unique requirements of each individual is vital for success. If every individual is motivated and fulfilled in their job role they will contribute more effectively to group activities and overall task completion.
The model has been named ‘action centred leadership ’, as all three elements of leadership should be combined with a centralised position of optimal performance. Good leaders are able to operate in a way that incorporates the needs of the task, the group and the individuals at all times – striking a balance between all three elements. However, few leaders have a natural blend of all three elements and it is extremely common to naturally focus on one or two areas over others.
For example you may be naturally focused around task completion resulting in a lack of empathy for your staff members. Similarly, you may be more people focused running the risk of overlooking task completion in the pursuit of maintaining a happy team.
Adair has devised a personal assessment questionnaire which can be completed to identify which aspects of the model you are most aligned with. A perfect result will produce an equally distributed Venn diagram such as the one below where there is an equal balance between all three elements.
Typically your will not generate a perfect score and you will find that one of your circles is extremely large, one is medium sized and the other is very small. This will indicate an imbalance between the three elements. Understanding how you are positioned within this model can be very useful as it allows you to highlight the main area(s) you need to develop. If you are interested you can complete John Adair’s questionnaire by visiting his website however it is not free unfortunately. However, you will probably be able to get a free version if you search online, but for the record, “I do not encourage you to search for free downloads as you should pay for your goods and services like an honest citizen (however it is probably there for free if you want it).”