John Adair (1934- )
British leadership expert (pictured right) who became the world’s first professor in leadership studies.
Effective leaders must satisfy the needs of the
Making sure the job is done.
Motivating each person, so maximizing his (or her) contribution to results.
Ensuring effective co-operation and co-ordination within a team or group.
This is what Adair called “Action-Centred Leadership” (ACL) and illustrated it with this diagram:
Leaders can achieve all these three interdependent factors (shown above where the circles overlap) by
- the motivation to achieve it.
So the functions of leadership are:
- defining a group's objectives.
- making a plan to achieve them.
Explaining the group's:
- tasks and performance standards.
Ensuring that people's actions achieve their aims.
Encouraging group effort and individual development.
Two-way communication with the group.
Seeing how well the group has achieved its objectives.
The overlapping circles (see above) show that leadership can simultaneously involve individual, team and
ACL training must be:
- practical (emphasizing action).
- participative (learning by doing).
- simple (ACL’s three elements are simple but not simplistic).
Key quotes on leadership
In the working situation the individual is both an ‘end’ in himself and a 'means' towards the common task.
Leaders should reflect or personify the qualities expected or required in their groups or organizations.
A leader’s most important job is to
- define and communicate the common task of his (or her) followers.
- ensure they carry it out.
Effective leadership requires not only planning, controlling and organizing (see above) but also:
- mutual trust and respect.
- leaders’ personal qualities and knowledge that best suit their situation.
Key quotes (on
Task, group and individual have to be related in values as well as in needs. That is why true leadership has an
inescapable moral, or even spiritual, dimension.
True leaders...do or live what they preach or require in others.
By necessity leadership itself has to be something of a team effort.
A good leader communicates.
Effective Leadership Masterclass
Successful leadership depends on:
- knowing what to do.
3. Inspiring common
4. Servant leadership
Being a servant leader (listening and responding to followers’ needs).
5. Being functional
Effectively doing what needs to be done that requires:
- effective decision making.
- imagination and intuition in new situations.
- planning, organizing, motivating and controlling.
Key quotes (on leadership from the 2010
You are not a leader until your appointment is ratified in the hearts and minds of those who work for you.
The ability to make things happen is essential.
Two-way communication is inseparable from leadership.
Leaders create not followers but partners in the common enterprise.
Real excellence goes hand in hand with humility.
Develop Your Leadership Skills
There are four ways for people to have authority over others:
The best leaders have
1. Enthusiasm and integrity
Ability to take difficult decisions leading to respect but not necessarily popularity.
Treating people differently but equally and impartially.
Caring for others.
Listening and acting without arrogance.
Self-belief without overconfidence.
Key quote (Adair’s short course on
The six most important words...
‘I admit I made a mistake’.
The five most important words...
‘I am proud of you.’
The four most important words...
‘What is your opinion?’
The three most important words...
‘If you please’
The two most important words...
And the last, least important word...