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Adair's model of Leadership Functions

Dec 04, 2015

Adair's model of Leadership Functions

Adair, J, Leadership Skills, Chartered Institute of Personnel Development, London, 1997. This diagram has been recreated by LMC.

LMC explains Adair's model of Leadership Functions

A business tool that describes the three core roles of leadership as overlapping and interdependent spheres. The model´s 3 spheres are: achieving the task, building and maintaining the team, and developing the individual. These areas are mutually dependant and equal. In addition to these three roles, Adair identified eight vital leadership functions or behaviour types. These functions are: defining the task, planning, briefing, controlling, evaluating, motivating, organising and providing examples.

Core Roles

Achieving the task is dependent not only on a clear plan, but on individuals being motivated and the group pulling together. The group can only effectively operate if the task is achievable and well defined and the individuals are motivated. The individuals’ development and motivation require the task to be clear and achievable and the group to be supportive and effective. In this sense, each role needs to be functioning effectively in order that the other two areas be satisfied. To achieve this equilibrium, the leader must continually perform the eight leadership functions:

  1. Defining the task: This sets a clear objective allowing the group and the individual to have a collective goal.
  2. Planning: Both leader and team need to be aware of timescales and responsibilities to achieve cohesion, efficiency and clarity of procedure.
  3. Briefing: Giving and receiving information and summarising ideas. This benefits individuals by a sense of inclusion and teams by sharing information as a sign of democracy.
  4. Controlling: The leader needs to exercise self control, but also needs to implement effective control systems on the group and individuals. This ensures standards are met to achieve the task, and builds confidence in the leadership capabilities from the individuals and teams.
  5. Evaluating: Continual evaluation of individual and group performance is essential for developing and maintaining standards and skills.
  6. Motivating: Leaders can benefit teams and individuals through reconciling disagreements and providing encouragement through setting realistic targets and communication feedback.
  7. Organising: Efficient allocation of people, time and resources benefits the task in terms of making it more achievable and individuals and teams by providing a clear action plan.
  8. Providing examples: Leading by example builds credibility with teams and individuals and helps build motivation and efficiency in individuals.

The model demonstrates the unity of leadership and shows how acting on any one of the eight functions or behaviours by the leader has a knock-on effect across the three core areas. The tool provides an integrated approach to leadership and is relevant for all team members and leaders.

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