Part 1 of our Rough Guide to Leadership Models. In this series, we present various leadership models clearly and concisely, so you may reflect on what they have to offer you.

Search for leadership models on DuckDuckGo, and you’ll get thousands of 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 a concise and 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 generalization that is thought-provoking and helps us to see something differently.

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 by posting a comment. What I promise is an extensive piece that will evolve 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.

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?


What model or theory would you like to read about? You are welcome to ask the Lazy Leader in the comments.

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