What is John Adair’s Theory on Leadership?
A popular and long-surviving idea on how to effectively manage employees, John Adair’s Leadership teamwork theory has been implemented in workforces and companies across the globe.
Defined by leadership expert John Adair in his 1973 book “The Action-Centred Leader”, this ever-popular teamwork theory is a simple yet effective way of explaining actions that need to be taken in order to become an effective leader. Regardless of industry or what level of management you want to improve, John Adair’s Leadership theory is definitely worth having a read about.
What is John Adair Leadership?
Rather than focusing on a specific style of leadership, Adair Leadership is a set of core ideas and principles that must be adhered to if you’re looking to achieve success in a project. These three principles are:
Task – The actions that need to be taken in order to achieve the goal
Team – Actions that must be taken at a group-level, including teamwork and effective communication
Individual – The individual needs and requirements from each member of the workgroup
The overlapping areas show where more than one area will need to work together in harmony in order to succeed. Therefore, as shown above, it is important to achieve as much of an equal balance as possible between these three areas. Of course, this isn’t always exactly achievable, and an imbalance in one of these areas can greatly affect the other two.
How to Practice Adair Leadership
Whilst the participation and efforts of employees is necessary, there are also three key areas where leaders need to develop in order to manage effectively. Start out by drawing out your own circles like the diagram above, with different sizes attributed to where you think your skills are strong/lacking (For example, you might be fantastic at hitting targets “task”, but lack in attention when it comes to Individuals and the Team overall).
Develop Leadership Skills
There are a number of ways in which leaders can develop their skills to become effective managers. Whether you’re a leader, strategic manager or head of operations, these skills are essential to a successful John Adair Leadership model.
- Defining the Task and laying out the vision and direction in mind for a particular project
Identifying Resources and taking stock of what tools, people and processes are available
Creating a plan to the task, including deadlines and timescales for each section of the project
Establishing Roles and clearly defining who takes care of which responsibilities
Delegating work & assigning sub-tasks to smaller groups or individuals
Effective Monitoring and reporting on progress and making sure everyone is sticking to the direction of the project, according to the original plan
- Setting a standard for how the team behaves and communicates with each other
Assigning roles and responsibilities to members based on strengths and weaknesses
Develop a sense of morale and spirit amongst members
Maintaining focus on the task at hand and setting discipline standards
Keep an eye on arising conflict within the group
Fill in gaps by providing additional training if or when needed
Engage in group feedback by both giving feedback to the group and receiving it from them
- Being empathetic and approachable when dealing with individuals’ personal issues
- Provide support where/when needed
- Explaining to individuals what their roles and responsibilities are within the group
- Giving regular praise and recognition to group members
- Rewarding individuals for their efforts (gifts, increased responsibilities, etc.)
- Working to develop individual skills, abilities and responsibilities
A Summary of John Adair Action Centred Leadership
As a leader, you will already know that there are almost an endless list of factors you need to take into consideration. As this is a simple teamwork theory to remember, we recommend using John Adair’s Leadership structure as a basis for your leadership style. By analysing your workforce and drawing out your own circle diagram, you can use this strategy to keep tabs on progress when it comes to completing projects.
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