The Three Key Management Areas

The Three Key Management Areas

In the late 60’s, Dr John Adair developed a three circle model as a means of understanding leadership. This model is represented by three interconnecting circles, performing the task, maintaining the team and developing the individual. The model is still very relevant today however we often overlook what time we spend in each area so I thought it would be beneficial to explore the model in more detail.


Performing the Task

For every team there is a purpose, a task for the group to achieve.  Each person needs a role to fulfil with certain responsibilities relating to it.  Objectives need to be set and standards for performance laid down.  The task must be planned and organised correctly with team members being kept informed.  A monitoring process needs to be in place, ensuring that everything runs to plan, as well as reviewing and evaluating once the task is completed.


Maintaining the Team

Each team develops it’s own identity which may differ from that of individual members.  It is the leaders responsibility to gain the commitment of the team so that it’s power and energy is directed towards a common purpose.  The leader must set about developing the loyalty of members, their pride in belonging, their desire to work together as a team and in short their morale.  Any conflict which arises must be dealt with, so as not to cause disruption to the team or stifle any creativity.


Developing the Individual

Each member of a team will have their own individual needs.  They will need to know exactly what is expected of them, in order for them to feel valued for the contribution they make.  Feedback, both positive and negative will also enhance this.  The work they perform must be within their capabilities but a challenge enabling them to be stretched to grow and be developed.  They need to feel that they are part of the team, they belong, are valued and accepted.


Ideal Outcome

The leaders job is to see that all areas of need are satisfied.  However, circumstances will mean that it may not be possible for effort to be put into all three circles all the time.  This may lead to an imbalance for whatever reason.  There is nothing wrong with this provided the leader is aware that certain areas are being overlooked.  Energy can be put back into this at another time.

Some managers consistently ignore or pay little attention to a particular circle.  For example, if a leader is very task orientated, they may give clear instructions, think ahead, be highly efficient but at the possible cost of team morale and individual commitment. The ideal therefore is to ensure that all the circles are focussed on equally at the same time.

Basically, effectiveness as a leader depends on the ability to influence, and be influenced by, the team and its members in the implementation of a common task.

In practice this means a successful leader functions in all three areas, often simultaneously.

How do we do this as Managers?

Firstly we need to understand what each circle looks like in our own role and business. It might be useful to plot now how much time you currently dedicate to each area. Once you have established what you currently do it becomes easier to identify areas we can make changes.

There will be occasions when all our time is dedicated to one area for example if we have taken on new members of staff. If we have changed a procedure or implemented new software/ computer systems. As discussed above this is okay, so long as we are still aware of where we are spending our time and we move back into the other areas when possible.

If you are a manager who is also a top performer in the team it can be difficult to move away from performing the task for a great deal of time. If you fall into this category, then you may need to look at covering the other areas with different resources. Do you have performance management framework in place to assist with performance management and maintaining your team? If not introducing simple procedures can be a great way to oversee teams without as much time taken up from the manager.

Do you struggle developing the team? Were you the top performer who was promoted to manager with very little training of what it takes to develop others? Don’t worry if you are, many managers find themselves in this position. It’s ok to have a development area and ask for support in respect of this. Would you benefit from Leadership Development Training? If so, why not make a phone call today and chat through different options for your needs.

Do the team require training that would be more beneficial from an external resource? Often managers need to look outside of their team for development opportunities. Depending on the requirement there will be various solutions available, you just need to find what is best for you and your team.

If you would like to discuss anything raised in this blog our Learning and Development Consultant Kimberley Fidler offers a 30 minute consultation to discuss you and your teams requirements.

To arrange your free consultation call Optimal PBS on 01422 897 673 or email enquiries@optimal-hr.co.uk

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