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He is a Pioneering British thinker in the theory &

the practice of leadership, and the first to occupy
a chair in leadership studies in the U.K at the
university of Surrey,1979-1983.
Cambridge graduate Adair, whose quiet &
business like demeanour is belied by a colourful
career including service in a Bedouin regiment
under Glubb Pasha; working as a deckhand on an
Arctic trawler; and a lecturer at the Royal Military
Academy, Sandhurst.
He has written almost 50 books on leadership &
management development.
Before his appointment to the leadership chair at
Surrey, Adair was visiting fellow at the Oxford
centre for management studies and assistant
director of the Industrial society, where he
headed the leadership department.
Adair believes his contribution to management
thinking is threefold. He can claim to have been
the first to demonstrate that people can be
trained for leadership as a transferable skill
rather than a matter of inborn aptitude. Second
he has helped to alter the concept of
management to include the larger element of
leadership, with which he associated
neighbouring skills of decision-making,
communication, and ability to manage time.
Finally he has defined leadership in terms of 3
overlapping circles- task, team& individual.
He claims his mission is to be ‘in the fore-front of
long-term management thinking’ & to integrate
management concepts to better effect.
John Adair goes to etymological roots to explain
the crucial difference between ‘leading &
managing’. In an interview in director magazine,
he explained it neatly-
Leadership is about a sense of direction. The
word lead comes from an Anglo-Saxon word,
common to north European languages, which
means a road, a way, the path of ship at sea.
Managing is a different image. Its from the latin
manus, a hand. Its handling a sword, a ship, a
horse. It tends to be closely linked with idea of
What are the leaders- or should be- good at, he
said, leadership is about teamwork, creating
teams. Teams tend to have leaders, leaders tend
to create teams.
In understanding Motivation, Adair lists the
functions of leadership as originally worked out
at Sandhurst:
Planning, Initiating, Controlling, Supporting,
Informing , Evaluating.
In understanding motivation Adair expounded
his ‘Fifty-Fifty’ rule a variation on the pareto
principle, in which he contends that half of
individual’s motivation comes from within himself
or herself, the other half from external factors,
including leadership. This theory contradicts
most of the management gurus, led by maslow
and hezberg, who stressed that motivation lies
within the individual.
Adair has applied his fifty-fifty rule in other
contexts e.g. in the EFFECTIVE TEAMBUILDING
where he suggests that 50% of success depends
on team and 50% on the leader. The fifty-fifty
rule has the benefits , he says of challenging
each party to get its performance right before
criticizing the quality or contribution of the other.
 Effective Leadership,
 Effective Teambuilding,
 Not Bosses, But Leaders
 Great Leaders,
 Effective Communication,
 Effective Innovation. And many more.