1960s & 1970s

In the 1960s and 1970s we begin to see the application of leadership development to more than just the top echelon of staff in organisations. Leadership development becomes important for anyone in a position where they manage people and begins it embrace all levels form team leader upwards.

Specific “commercial models” emerge. Some of the most popular include:

Action Centred Leadership General theory on this approach is attributed or associated with the work of John Adair and his ideas on action centred leadership. The effectiveness of a leader is dependent upon meeting the three areas of need within a work group:

  • the need to achieve a common task,
  • the need for team maintenance, and
  • the Individual needs of group members,

Task Functions involve: achieving the objective of the work group, defining group tasks, planning work, allocation of resources, organisation of responsibilities and controlling quality and checking performance.

Team Functions involve: maintaining morals and building team spirit, the cohesiveness of the group, setting standards and maintaining discipline, systems of communication within the group and training the group.

Individual Functions involve: meeting the need of the individual members of the group, attending to problems, giving feedback, reconciling conflicts between group needs and the needs of the individual and training the individual.

Covey’s 7 Habits. Covey examined successful leaders and identified 7 “so called” principles which he observes are consistently displayed by these people.  The virtue of this model is that it is simple, very accessible and is based on ideas that are already known to many.  The 7 habits are:

  • Begin with the end in mind
  • Believe you can achieve – be proactive
  • Attend to first things first
  • Think win – win
  • Communicate – but first you listen
  • Use the strengths of others – synergise
  • Sharpen the saw

The Covey model is hugely popular because it is easy to understand. Examined closely once can see a significant connection with other models such as Adair’s Action Centred leadership model.

Contingency Theories

At about the same time, the 1950s and 1960’s saw the development of so called “Contingency Theories” which sow the seeds of the Situational Leadership movement. That is, an understanding that there is no one way to deliver leadership – its contingent on the situation and the maturity or capability of followers are significant factors. This leads us to understanding that there might be different styles of leadership which are more or less effective according to the setting. The two most important theories are probably Fiedlers LPC model and House’s Path/Goal Theory.

Next week we will be continuing to look at various models and theories surrounding the history of Leadership up to the modern day.

By Doug Strycharczyk, CEO- AQR International doug-clear

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