Search for leadership models on Google and you’ll get about 375,000,000 results.
There’s information on the 3 levels of leadership model, situational leadership, Tuckman’s model of team development, transactional and transformational leadership, action centred leadership, and so on. Now this is a lot to take in.
So, I thought I’d save you some time and prepare a rough guide to leadership models.
What I intend to do is present various leadership models in brief, simplified format so you may read with ease and reflect on what they may have to offer you in the business you work.
Leadership As a Lens
Because there are so many models and frameworks of leadership, it can get a little confusing. The most important point about these models … and I’ll come to them soon … is that they are there to provide a lens for looking at our unique situations … whether leading teams, projects or business.
Two important characteristics of maps should be noticed. A map is not the territory it represents, but, if correct, it has a similar structure to the territory, which accounts for its usefulness. – Alfred Korzybski
As such, they can help us to put in place alternative approaches to situations we are faced with as we develop our leadership skills. So, each leadership model, when thought about and applied to a particular situation, can help make us more rounded and capable leaders.
But remember, the map is not the territory. What leadership models offer is an idea or generalisation that is thought-provoking and helps us to see something in a different way.
Now let’s call to mind some of the most popular leadership models and the people who crafted them.
The Leadership Scholars
Where does one start when looking at leadership models?
From the beginning? Or, as an approach to leadership development?
Sure, I could mention Bruce Tuckman and the stages of group development, or Hersey and Blanchard and their theory of situational leadership, then there’s Taylor, Ford and Lewin, not to mention the quality gurus of the mid-twentieth century.
But simply working through the scholars we would be missing something. We should not forget the learning and influence of practitioners.
For instance, Winston Churchill, Warren Buffet, Richard Branson and so on.
So I’m going to do something different. I’m going to let you decide. You, the reader, may direct my writing. What I promise is an extensive piece that will evolve over time and allow you to dip in and learn about leadership as you please.
Ultimately, it will be structured so you can take a walk through leadership history, grasp the philosophical angle, or simply examine each leadership style or leadership model in isolation.
Leadership is not, then, the elephant in the room that many would rather not face up to; it is the room itself … – Keith Grint
Above all, this is about learning so we may become better leaders. Leadership is about personal responsibility. It is the thing we all have to face up to.
What’s Next In Our Rough Guide to Leadership Models?
Well, to start this series on leadership models, we’re going back 2,500 years to ancient China. We all enjoy a quote from Sun Tzu … but what can we learn from this great military strategist? What was his model of leadership?
Creative Commons image courtesy A. Kuzminski.