Sergio Caredda - Leadership Models - The Theory and the Practice

Leadership Models – The Theory and the Practice

After having analysed the four foundational pillars of the Organisation Evolution Framework, it’s time to investigate its fifth element: Leadership. I have been careful to provide, within the model, a purely opportunistic definition of leadership that “fits” the model, and the reason will be clear towards the end of this long article. Leadership is one of the topics most discussed (and probably most abused) in management literature. A number of points of view are constantly added from multiple disciplines: psychology, behavioural science, sociology, history etc.

Also defining the terms is difficult. For example, we keep being reminded that Leadership has nothing to do with hierarchy (Kruse, 2013), yet just access any consulting website, and the term “Leadership” in an organisational context will refer in most cases to the decision-makers or executives of a firm. We keep reading that Leadership is not Management (Kotter, 2013), yet managers keep being evaluated on their leadership skills. We hear that Leadership is not linked to attributes, yet most Leaders we can think of are charismatic, and definitely with robust personality features. The term Leader is even used today in file and rank job titles, (Customer Service Leader, Customer Success Lead, are just some example). All this shows the existence of many different points of view on this concept.

I came to the conclusion that, probably, the term itself has been so abused, that we need to find a new and more precise vocabulary on the many meanings that we attribute to Leadership.

However, as with my previous articles on Organisation ModelsBusiness ModelsStrategy Frameworks and Operating Models, I want to try to give an account of the complexity of this territory. The excel that supports this article lists already more than 150 visual models, which I have shortlisted to 101 in the first version of this post. The reason for exclusions of some of the models is due to cross-referencing sources, sometimes plain copying, often to issues accessing the source. All models are still referenced in their original webpage at the time of publication. However, the quest is not finished. As I started the revision of this article, I could find at least five new graphics on a simple google image search. Which also means that your contribution will be fundamental. Please feel free to suggest new models (or give feedback to any of these) directly in the comment section of this post.

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