Action Wheel Leadership

Leadership Theories


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Action Wheel Leadership offers comprehensive leadership theories that meet the test of local applicability in diverse cultural, geographic, political, economic and social settings.   

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Action Wheel Model

An authentic leadership theory depends on the ability to call forth authentic action in response to the issues it identifies.

In Authentic Leadership: Courage in Action, Bob Terry proposes that effective leadership models depend on an ability to frame issues correctly—that is, to answer the question: "What is really going on?"

This is leadership theory and practice that incorporates the authenticity and the ethical sensibility needed by leaders if their work is to be relevant to today's issues and problems.

Within that view of leadership, our purpose is to accomplish two broad goals:

  1. Build a perspective of leadership that offers a unique orientation yet also embraces the diverse viewpoints within other current leadership theories.
  2. Construct a practical set of leadership tools and guides that leaders can use to enhance their everyday leadership action.

One of the reasons leadership theory often fails to work consistently, or to be inclusive, is that it starts from the wrong premise. Our premise is that leadership is a subset of action.

This theoretical shift carries enormous consequences for consideration of courage, vision, ethics and spirituality as they relate to leadership. In addition to a starting point, a comprehensive view of leadership must propose a central organizing principle.

What is needed is an idea that can unite theory and practice, the one and the many, and the true and the real. We need leadership theory and principle that can appreciate the richness and diversity of other leadership theories, be open and self-correcting and grounded in action. This principle is authenticity. It is the union of authenticity and action that forms the basis of Action Wheel Leadership's definition of leadership.

Fulfillment: Fulfillment is the completed act, that into which meaning, mission, power, structure, resources and existence converge at any given time and place. Thinking, doing and being converge in fulfillment. If the mission is to write a poem, the produced poem is fulfillment. If the mission is to murder someone, the actual murder is fulfillment. Some actions produce objects separate from the actor, such as a poem. Some actions, such as speaking, are integral to the actor while acting. Some actions are virtual, such as imagination; some are actual, such as walking. 

Fulfillment, we should note, does not imply ethical action. It is any completed act. The seventh view of leadership is grounded in fulfillment, with its focus on courage, authenticity and hope.

The dimensions of the Action Wheel Leadership Theory connect to specific Leadership Metaphors.

Bob Terry on his purpose in writing 
Authentic Leadership: Courage in Action:

"This book proposes a philosophy of leadership and a philosophy of life. It is neither dispassionate (although it is analytical) nor value—and policy—neutral (although it presents diverse views). Rather, the theory developed here not only focuses on particular aspects of leadership action but also suggests directions for such action.

I have attempted here to help leaders frame issues, understand legitimate and illegitimate uses of power, assess competing visions and articulate a global ethic. Above all, I want to inspire leaders to find the courage to face their fears and build a more authentic world." ~Robert Terry, Authentic Leadership: Courage in Action

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Related Pages:

Leadership Models

Styles of Leadership

Authentic Action Wheel Leadership Model

A Definition of Leadership

Ethics in Leadership

Leadership Versus Management

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