Action Wheel Leadership

How Do We Define Leadership?

Action Wheel Leadership Site Map

Leaders define leadership in many ways. Action Wheel Leadership has a definition of leadership as well.  


Define Leadership

Our company founder, Dr. Robert Terry, developed the Action Wheel leadership model as his answer to the question "what is leadership?" The roots of the Action Wheel go back to Aristotle who sought to understand and explain the driving force behind human action.

Bob took Aristotle's original four-dimensional model and added three additional dimensions to create the seven-dimension model he presented in Authentic Leadership: Courage in Action.

For more than 25 years this framework has been taught to literally tens of thousands of leaders all over the world and has been used in universities and colleges to frame leadership, management and organizational development concepts and programs. The Action Wheel allows leadership to define what is really going on and to choose what actions to take that would move the organization or community in an authentic direction.

Purpose of the Action Wheel: The Action Wheel is a tool that answers the question: "What is really going on?" It can be used by anyone to identify any issue. Ask:

  • Have you ever sensed something was wrong, but couldn't figure out what?
  • Do conversations get bogged down?
  • Have you doubted you had enough information?
  • Does it seem you can't agree on an issue or how to solve it?
  • Have you misunderstood an issue and had unexpected results?
  • Does the same issue keep coming up no matter what you do?

These are all common leadership problems. The Action Wheel can help resolve them.

The Leadership Challenge:

The challenge of leadership is to distinguish the authentic from the inauthentic aspects of action, acknowledge them, and commit to having the authentic emerge from the inauthentic. A way to define leadership in this context is: "Leadership then becomes a relationship between the leader and the led that presses to know what is really going on, to act courageously on that understanding and to live and act authentically. Bob Terry also offers both a short and long leadership definition here.

Outcomes of Using The Action Wheel:

  • Frame and define what is really really going on
  • Create a common language
  • Identify and focus attention
  • Raise caution of misinterpreting reality
  • Focus energy toward authentic action and long-term solutions
  • Align people, systems and strategy
  • Engage people and systems
  • Identify ethical challenges and dilemmas and solutions

Use the Action Wheel Assessment to define leadership issues within your organization.

This leadership assessment was created as a paper and pencil leadership tool more than 20 years ago. We now offer it as a powerful online assessment that your organization can use to find where you are both strong and weak in your organization. The AWL Group will administer the assessment to your group and work with your leaders to identify and resolve those issues that emerge.

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