” A good objective of leadership is to help those who are doing poorly to do well and to help those who are doing well to do even better. ” – Jim Rohn.
Action-Centred Leadership is a model of leadership which was created by John Adair, a British academic born in 1934, who is seen as one of the most prominent leadership thinkers in the world. He wrote more than forty books on leadership and management. His model shows what effective leaders need to do. It also shows that good leadership is a skill that can be learned and not necessarily an innate skill. It is a guide to good leadership and management for those who head teams, groups, schools, businesses or any other types of organizations.
According to John Adair, there are three elements that all leaders must focus on. They are:
1. Achieving the task.
The task refers to the purpose, mission, and goals of the organization. In a school this would mean achieving the agreed curricular and extra-curricular goals on a termly and yearly basis. The emphasis would be on the setting of SMART goals, planning, performance standards, monitoring, evaluation, and keeping everyone on task and on course. Excellence should be the watchword. The task is the reason for the existence of the team and the individuals.
2. Developing the team.
The task can only be achieved through successful teamwork. The team must understand the mission, goals, time-frame and process, and work towards a common purpose. The leader has to pay attention to performance management, discipline, focus, conflict resolution, team-spirit, and good communications in the team. He must also provide timely feedback to team members to enable constant improvement.
3. Developing individuals.
The team can only function well if the leader develops each individual member as far as possible. This leads to stronger teams and greater effectiveness and efficiency. The leader must provide personal support and advice for each individual according to his or her personal needs. Leaders must also provide training and mentorship for each individual and use each individual’s strengths for the benefit of the team and the organization. Individual weaknesses should be gradually eliminated. Delegation of tasks is a good way to develop individual capacity.
These three elements are usually represented by three overlapping circles.
Leaders must never fail to recognize and reward good performance by any individual or team. Public recognition and rewards increase motivation and productivity along with the three elements of Action-Centred Leadership. The leader must meet the needs of the team and the individuals to motivate them and facilitate the achievement of the task. Finally, he or she has to balance the three elements carefully since they are inter-dependent.