Action Wheel Leadership

Leadership Metaphors

in Public and 
Organizational Life


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Leadership metaphors are the lenses through which we interpret the world. The Action Wheel framework identifies six critical metaphors for leadership. Each leadership metaphor represents one of the Action Wheel dimensions of leadership as developed in Dr. Robert Terry's book Authentic Leadership: Courage In Action

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Leadership Metaphors

Each leadership metaphor is linked to one dimension of the Action Wheel and opens a windows onto a leadership reality. They identify the unknown from the known, the novel from the familiar. They link the well established with the less well understood.

A metaphor, in short, tells us something new about reality. "A tractor is a machine" is a literal statement about a direct perception. "Life is a machine" is a metaphor. The metaphor anchors a direct experience to something that goes well beyond it.

Different metaphors yield different realities, resulting in different perceptions of what is really going on. Is a business's orienting metaphor "journey" or is it something else---say a belief that a business is an organic system? Very different ideas and actions will arise from different metaphors. 

Learn More About the Six Metaphors for Leadership:

Leadership Assessment Tools, created by the AWL Group and based in the work of Dr. Robert Terry, will will help you and your group or organization make use our insightful Action Wheel leadership theory that results in authentic leadership action.  

The Action Wheel Leadership System offers a full suite of leadership seminars and activities for your organization.

Action Wheel Community

You are part of the Action Wheel Community if you have ever learned about the Action Wheel, participated in one of our workshops or leadership courses, or visited our website. As part of this community, you will able to read about experiences others have had with the Action Wheel and share your own experiences as well.

Do you have a story, memory, or question about using the Action Wheel in your professional or personal life? Please share it.

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