Stop juggling, use Action Centred Leadership
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Stop juggling, use Action Centred Leadership

I remember my first management role.  I had just been promoted and there was so much to do!  My new team was behind on their tasks; they lacked motivation and didn’t seem to be getting on well with each other.  It was a nightmare!  What should I deal with first?  I started to feel like a circus juggler – trying to keep all the balls in the air at the same time, fearful of dropping any! Perhaps you have found yourself in this situation, wondering what to do next! So what can you do?  This is where the Action Centred Leadership Model by John Adair will help you to juggle those balls and ensure that you meet all of the needs.

Task, Team, Individual

John Adair, an expert in leadership first published the Action Centred Leadership model in 1973.  The model highlights three areas of need that leaders need to focus on in order to manage their teams effectively.   These are:

If you want your teams to succeed, you must balance their actions to take into account each of the three areas in the model.  The model is illustrated as three interlocking circles, the model highlights how dependent each need is on each other.  For example, if you were to focus on just the task needs, then the needs of the individual and the team could be neglected and problems could occur.  It isn’t as simple as dividing up your time in 3 ways either; you must vary the amount of time spent on each need according to the situation.

Let’s look at how to use this in practice:

Start by looking at all the activities you undertake in each of the three areas.  Are you dividing up your time according to need correctly?  If we look at each need individually, you will be able to see how you might do this.

Task Needs – have you identified the objectives for your team?  Are you clear on what you need to do?  Have you produced a clear plan for your team?  Does your team fully understand what needs to be done?  Have you communicated this effectively to them?  Are the deadlines realistic and clear?  Does everyone understand the standards required?

Team Needs – does everyone in your team have the rights skills to carry out their tasks? Do they need further training in some areas?  Are relationships good within the team?  Are you dealing with and resolving conflicts or do you avoid them?  What is motivation like within the team?  Are they motivated to perform well or is this lacking?  How regularly do you meet with the team to discuss team performance and stress the importance of team working?

Individual Needs – how regularly do you have one to ones with team members?  Do you regularly assess their development needs and fully support them?  Are they clear about their role and are happy to undertake the tasks they are responsible for?  Do you provide regular feedback to each team member, offer praise where appropriate and additional development and/or support where needed?  Have you spotted where certain team members may be lagging behind and are you providing coaching to bring them up to speed?

Staying on track

In conclusion, this article should highlight to you as a leader, the gamut of responsibilities you have in terms of managing your team.  It can be very easy to get bogged down in one area; neglect the other two areas as a result and this could lead to a poor performing, conflicted and demotivated team.

Action Centred Leadership has helped me to stay on track with my objectives and ensure that everyone is content at work, works well together and achieves their goals.

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