The Management Blog

Tips & advice to help you improve your performance


sean mcpheat

john adairs action centered leadership model

Adair’s Action Centred Leadership Model

john adairs action centered leadership model

John Adair, one of the most respected leadership trainers in the world, spent years developing what is now known as Adair’s Action Centred Leadership Model. The model has three main parts, of which any good manager or leader should be familiar with. As a manager, you’ll need to be able to use all of these elements in your decision making process in order to control situations, keep things in balance, and get the results you ultimately desire.

What is Adair’s leadership model?

The three components of Adair’s Action Centred Leadership Model are:

  • Task achievement
  • Team management
  • Individual management

You have a set of responsibilities within each component of the model. Let’s start with your responsibilities as a manager in charge of achieving a task.


Just a few of these include:

  • Properly define the scope of the task
  • Identify which tools and resources you need to complete the task
  • Create a plan to achieve the task
  • Set controls and standards
  • Monitor and report on progress
  • Review and adjust the plan as appropriate

Your next step is to take a look at the group participating in the project with you, helping you to bring it to fruition.

Team Management

When you look at the group in general you must:

  • Establish standards for communication, style, culture, and approach
  • Monitor the groups behaviour and establish boundaries for ethics, culture, discipline and conflict
  • Modify the dynamic of the group as necessary
  • Make sure the group is able to cooperate and work as a unified team
  • Lead the group towards the ultimate achievement of its goals

Finally you must look at each individual member of the group separately.


This involves:

  • Understanding the needs and strengths or weaknesses of each person
  • Helping each person to define his own unique goals
  • Set responsibilities and objectives and reward them for being met
  • Develop strengths and utilise them with proper training

Adair’s model

adairs leadership model

In all three categories you can see how important it is for you to be active in your approach. There’s no passive method for dealing with employees or projects with Adair’s action centred leadership model. No matter what model you follow, you’ll find that dealing actively with employees is a far more effective, proactive approach.

The three areas overlap. Of course, each activity has a series of sub-activities, and the success of each task hinges upon the others.

For example, you can’t build a solid team if you haven’t properly trained the individual members. The individual members won’t ever gain the right level of experience if they don’t have a strong team to support them. You’ll never see a project or task come to successful completion unless each of your teams or individual employees is trained to meet the deadlines and quality expectations you have set.

Adair leadership theory

Each area of Adair’s leadership theory depends on the others. Not one part can stand alone. In order to be an effective manager, you’ll have to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your team members. Perhaps, for example, one of your employees has a time management problem. The solution is to get him extra training or guidance when it comes to organising his workflow. If left untreated, the problem may grow until it eventually has a negative impact on an important project.

I find Action Centered Leadership to be a proactive management model. It involves actively evaluating and reevaluating your tasks and team in order to identify issues and make changes before they turn into real problems. Avoiding problems will make your job much easier in the long run.

Thanks again




Sean McPheat

Managing Director – MTD Training

MTD Training   | Image courtesy of Big Stock Photo

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Reasons For Organisational Failure

The 4 Main Reasons For Organisational Failure

Try Fail SuccessThe only constant in business is change. I’m sure you’ve heard that statement many times.

And one of the main reasons why organisations stagnate and fall is because of the lack of understanding about this simple philosophy.
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How can we define ethics in management?

The Four Principles of Ethical Management

Ethics , Business Team Ethics , Business Ethics Integrity Honest As a manager you’re going to find yourself in a position where you are required to regularly make decisions.

While you may, at times, feel as though you are guided by your own morals and beliefs, it is very important for you to remember to put your personal beliefs aside so that you can look at each situation objectively and make the most ethical decisions possible.

So how can you achieve this? 

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Do You Really Want to be a Manager?

Management, to be honest, isn’t easy. Sure, there are pros and cons to becoming a manager but the reality of the situation is that you need to jump on the management path not only because someone thinks you’d be good at it, or because you think you’ll make more money, but because you really want to be a leader.

Any other reason is unacceptable and, in the end, if you’re not willing to be a leader you’re going to find yourself very frustrated with your career path. Let’s take a look at some of the negative and positive aspects of a career in management.

First, we’ll list some of the drawbacks:

  • You won’t be able to develop as many close friendships with your team members because doing so will cloud your ability to make objective supervisory decisions. You may begin to feel lonely.
  • You’ll receive very little immediate feedback about how you’re doing with your work. Most of your goals will be long-term. As such, you may feel unsure of yourself.
  • Managers often have to sign legal documents, including employment contracts or contracts with customers and vendors. This means you can, on some level, be held legally liable if there is a problem.
  • Management positions are competitive. There are more team members than there are managers -always. And there are always more people looking to move up than there are spots available. You may feel some tension as others vie for your job – or for those similar to yours.

There are, of course, plenty of positive aspects to management:

  • Your status as a manager may earn you some sort of prestige – especially if people believe your title sounds powerful.
  • Managers sometimes feel as though they have some sort of power. They do, on some levels, but it is important to remember that even managers have work delegated to them before they can delegate it to others.
  • Managers, in most cases, receive better pay than those beneath them. There are instances in which this is not true. For example, some companies pay based on the value of your contributions. Who do you think gets paid more – a nuclear chemist or the guy who “manages” the plan in which he works. My guess is that the nuclear chemist is actually making a more valuable or important contribution to the overall goals of the organisation.

It’s up to you to weigh the pros and cons of management. If moving up the corporate ladder is something you’ve always dreamed of, then go for it. If not, do you really want to add that type of stress to your life?

Thanks again,


Sean McPheat

Managing Director

MTD Training   | Image courtesy of Big Stock Photo

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How to Be a Better Manager – Part 2

On Monday we kicked off the week by talking about a few of the things you could do to develop your own management career. Today I’m going to spend a few minutes outlining a few more things you should consider as you walk down the path of self improvement. Management, after all, is a continuous process and, as such, your path towards continuous development should be as well.

Develop Your Motivation Skills

You, as a manager, will be responsible for making sure your employees feel motivated at all times. Everyone has different reasons for feeling motivated – saving for a vacation, working towards a promotion, or simply feeling accomplished. It’s your job to find out what motivates your employees so that you an make sure they continue to be motivated.

Lead Your Team

Good managers are not just managers – they’re leaders as well. A simple manager will do just that – manage his team – giving them instructions and orders and going about his day. A real manager will lead his team, giving them their tasks and guiding them by pulling his share of the weight. Guide them in the right direction and they’ll surely follow.

Learn about Money

Unless you’re already in accounting, you probably know as much about money as your department budget requires. The truth, though, is that to appreciate your business as a whole you should really gain a better understanding about how money works in your business environment. What is spent, what is earned, and what you can do to avoid being wasteful. Saving doesn’t mean being stingy – it means being creative.



You can’t help others if you never help yourself. What areas of your business life do you think need growth and development? Can you take a class? Can you ask your own managers for mentoring or coaching? The better you are at developing your self the better you will be at helping others.

Remain Ethical

No matter what, conduct all business in an ethical manner – both within your organisation and outside of it. Ask your human resources department or upper management for help if you feel as though you are in an ethical dilema.

Your success as a manager is in your hand. Have you identified any areas you should start working on right away?

Thanks again,


Sean McPheat

Managing Director

MTD Training   | Image courtesy of Big Stock Photo

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The Tone of Your Voice

nerdThe other day I was reading a sales-related article but the point really translates back to any aspect of business – especially if you are a manager. The article talked about your voice and, more specifically, the tone of your voice. Learn More

Tips for Retaining Employees – Part 2

The other day we started to discuss a few of the things you can do, as a manager, to retain your good employees. Today I’d like to add 5 more tips to the list. Combine them all, using your own personal management style, and before you know it you’ll see your employee relationships improving.

  • Listen to your employees. Your team members, if you listen to them, have valuable ideas and most of them want to contribute to the process. Listen to what they have to say and make sure they know the lines of communication are always open.
  • Help them find opportunities for growth. No one wants to feel as though he or she is stuck in a dead end job for a lifetime and you, as a manager, can’t expect them to be happy in the same position forever. Help your employees identify opportunities for growth, both short-term and long. Employees working towards goals are always happier.
  • Encourage flexibility. I’m not saying you have to adjust their schedules every other day and make ridiculous concessions but you can find ways to encourage them to find balance between their work and persona lives without decreasing productivity. This means not being rude when they’re really sick or when they need to take care of their children.
  • Encourage personal wellness. Healthy employees are happy employees and stress is certainly not healthy. Surprise them with special breaks, give them gift certificates to their favorite restaurants or spas as an acknowledgment of their loyalty, or have a yoga instructor come in for a morning class. They’ll appreciate the break from the regular routine.
  • Finally, please remember to say THANK YOU to the people who work for you. Whether they’re permanent employees or independent contractors, everyone appreciates knowing you recognize, acknowledge, and appreciate the things they do. Nothing else you do will matter if you never utter those two simple words.

Thanks again,


Sean McPheat

Managing Director

MTD Training   | Image courtesy of Big Stock Photo

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Tips for Retaining Employees – Part 1

As a manager you have a huge amount of repsonsibility when it comes to hiring and firing employees. You’ll do your best to hire the candidates you think are the best and you’ll have to document incidents in order to fire those who turn out to be not as great as they presented themselves. In the midst of all this, managers tend to forget one group of people – the good ones – the ones they should be working to retain.

A good employee isn’t one you can just leave alone, monitoring only when it comes time for the annual review or when you need to assign new work. Even good employees need attention and if they don’t get it, or feel appreciated, they might start to look elsewhere for work. Learn More

Success tips

5 Great Tips To Help Coach Your Employees

Success tipsAs a manager it is important for you to not just dictate instructions to your employees but to coach them along the way. Some of your employees will have more self-motivation than others but in the end they’ll all need just a little bit of coaching to help them meet their career goals. Here are a few simple tips to help you open the lines of communication as you work with each of your team members. Learn More

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Avoiding Negativity in the Workplace

thumbs downWhat’s one of the best ways to keep your team motivated? Help them avoid negativity in the workplace, of course. Learn More

The Corporate Life Cycle Model

A very respected business theoriest known as Dr. Ichak Adizes outlined a very interesting theory regarding the life cycle corporations go through. Formally known as the Corporate Life Cycle Model, the theory contains 10 distinct stages each business must pass through as it moves from a simple idea, through realization, and to its ultimate end.

Let’s first look at the 10 stages of the Corporate Life Cycle Model. They are as follows:

  1. Courtship is the period during which you have an idea you are toying with in your head. You alk about development, create business plans, look for funding, etc.
  2. Infancy describes the very first stages of a business, immediately after the official public launch.
  3. The go-go stage occurs when a business is still relatively new. This stage tends to be very busy and in some cases is very chaotic.
  4. A business is in its adolescent stages when it begins to define itself but still experiences growth.
  5. The prime stage of any business model occurs when it is at it’s most profitable and competitive point.
  6. A business is in the stability stage when it is starting to lose its edge but is still considered popular and profitable.
  7. Aristrocracy occurs as a business begins to lose more of its edge and market share but still has a strong presence; it can’t keep up with new technologies.
  8. Recrimination occurs when people begin to have doubts about the future success of a business and begin to feel threatened. They lose sight of their original goals.
  9. A business will turn into a bureaucracy when the administration begins thinking only of themselves. At this point, you’ll notice many of the investors looking elsewhere and key players in the organization leaving for other opportunities.
  10. Finally, a business will just die off. It will be sold to another company for the sake of a client base, file for bankruptcy, or simply close.

The trick, in any business, is to keep a business in the early and middle stages for as long as possible. This means using innovative marketing strategies to come up with new products and new marketing techniques in order to stay as competitive as possible for as long as possible. You and your team should always be looking forward, wondering what you can do next to make things better. If you fall into a rut, you’ll only push yourselves further towards the end of your careers.

Thanks again,


Sean McPheat

Managing Director

MTD Training   | Image courtesy of Big Stock Photo

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How Clear are Your Voicemail Messages?

telephoneIt doesn’t matter if you work in customer service, as a salesperson, or as a manager for either team. Leaving an effective voicemail is essential to your success in the workplace. So what exactly is a successful voicemail? Learn More