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In 1973, John Adair published his Action Centred Leadership (ACL) tool, designed to help leaders juggle the huge number of things they have to do. ACL has stood the test of time, and still ranks as one of the most valuable tools we can give to leaders on Fieri courses.

The model is made up of just three circles but there are multiple ways to interpret them, and the great strength of this simple model is how easily it can be adapted to apply to any context, from junior leaders to experienced strategists.

The first step in using ACL is to categorise all the work you do as a leader into three broad activities:

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(Adapted from Action centred leadership: Adair, 1973.

The Venn diagram arrangement shows that some elements of leadership will stray into two or even all three areas.) 

So far, so simple…

If you’ve never used the ACL model before, why not try doing this now? Going through this process might show you something new about your leadership approach.

Think about your role, and all the different activities you do.

Now look at all the items on your list and break them into the three categories. You might find that most of your work is being focused on just one of these categories.

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(Using ACL, strive to maintain a balance between these three key functions of leadership.)

 Perhaps you spend a lot of time developing your teams through group goal setting, teambuilding events and briefings, but haven’t been giving as much attention to individuals through coaching and mentoring, one-to-one interactions or individual development plan management.

 That could be a good indicator that you need to adjust your balance going forwards.

 ACL is a simple model, but you can do a lot with it and we’ve barely scratched the surface of its full utility here. If you’ve found this introduction useful, why not find out a bit more about ACL and how it could further support your development as a leader?

References: Adair, 1973, Action Centred Leadership

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