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40 Must-Know HR, OD, L&D Models & Concepts

From a large pool of over 200 Human Resources (HR), Organisational Development (OD) and Learning & Development (L&D) models and concepts, we are highlighting a list of 40 "must-know" business models and ideas across these fields. At the time of publishing this, we can't find anyone else on the web who's created something similar so we hope you find it useful. The closest (and best) resources are and, but they list hundreds of models. It would be very hard to know which ones are actually popular in the people management space unless you'd spent some years working in a related role. So why not begin one? This list would be useful to graduates and hopefully encourage debate among experienced practitioners as to what models would (or would not) constitute "must-know" reading.

The 40 models below are not a list based on our personal favourites; it simply represents ideas that we frequently encounter in our work and would therefore consider important to know about.

For the most part, it was incredibly difficult to provide a brief summary of each idea — there is so much more to each model beyond these high-level descriptions. We will be taking the time to explore many of these in more detail over the coming months.

40 Must-Know HR, OD, L&D Models & Concepts

(in no particular order)

  1. 70:20:10 Learning Model
  2. Kirkpatrick's 4-Level Model of Training Evaluation
  3. Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing (Tuckman)
  4. Four Stages of Competence Model
  5. The Johari Window
  6. Kotter's 8-Step Change Model
  7. SMART Goal-Setting Model
  8. GROW Coaching Model
  9. The Balanced Scorecard
  10. Theory X and Theory Y
  11. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
  12. Herzberg’s Motivation-Hygiene Theory
  13. Intrinsic Motivation (Autonomy, Mastery, Purpose)
  14. Flow Model
  15. Time Management Matrix
  16. Behavioural Interviewing
  17. Strategic HR Business Partnering (Ulrich Model)
  18. SWOT Analysis
  19. The Bell Curve
  20. Lencioni's 5 Dysfunctions of a Team
  21. The 80/20 Rule (The Pareto Principle)
  22. The Peter Principle
  23. “Hire for Attitude, Train For Skills”
  24. Cognitive Dissonance
  25. 6 Principles of Influence (Cialdini)
  26. 6 Thinking Hats (Edward de Bono)
  27. Goleman’s Model of Emotional Intelligence
  28. DISC Model of Human Behaviour
  29. Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)
  30. The Big 5 Personality Traits (OCEAN Model)
  31. Gallup Q12 (Buckingham and Coffman)
  32. Strengths-Based Thinking (Buckingham)
  33. Appreciative Inquiry 4-D Cycle
  34. Positive Psychology (PERMA Model)
  35. Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP)
  36. Covey’s 7 Habits
  37. “Level 5” Leadership (Collins)
  38. Situational Leadership
  39. Transformational Leadership
  40. Servant Leadership

Inspirational Corporate Leader Scorecard

1. 70:20:10 Learning Model

Despite appearing in the form of a ratio, the 70:20:10 model is actually a general philosophy or attitude towards L&D activities rather than a precision formula. It stresses the need to extend learning beyond the classroom/courses paradigm and look more deeply at things like giving employees special assignments, stretch goals, exposure to other departments and roles, leading group discussions, creating FAQs, wikis, knowledge bases, and online portals for quick troubleshooting, as well as mentoring opportunities, forums to have discussions with other experts, and incorporating social learning tools into on-the-job workflow.

While there is no definitive account as to the exact origins of the model, it is widely believed to be based on the work of Morgan McCall, Robert Eichinger and Michael Lombardo who worked together at the Center for Creative Leadership in the 1980s. The researchers asked a group of successful senior executives to look back on their careers and reflect on where they felt meaningful development came from. Their findings were published in “Career Architect Development Planner” (1996), which stated: “Lessons learned by successful and effective managers are roughly:

  • 70% from tough jobs;
  • 20% from people (mostly the boss);
  • 10% from courses and reading.”

2. Kirkpatrick's 4-Level Model of Training Evaluation

A former president of ASTD, Donald Kirkpatrick’s 4-level model became widely popular after publication of his 1994 book, "Evaluating Training Programs," which describes a basic process for evaluating the effectiveness of training programs according to 4 main stages:

  1. Reaction (how did the participants feel about the course?)
  2. Learning (did they actually retain the information?)
  3. Behaviour (did they apply the information?)
  4. Results (did the business ultimately benefit?)

3. Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing (Tuckman)

The Forming-Storming-Norming-Performing model is the most well known theory of team development, proposed by Bruce Wayne Tuckman (no relation to Batman) who published "Tuckman's Stages" in 1965. The theory suggests that, when a team is formed, it will proceed along a predictable course of growth in accordance with four main stages, although not all teams make it to the final stage.

  1. Forming (orientation)
  2. Storming (testing boundaries)
  3. Norming (establishing norms)
  4. Performing (autonomous execution)

4. Four Stages of Competence Model

The Four Stages of Competence theory has several claims of original authorship, but basically suggests that there are four stages to learning any new skill:

  1. Unconscious incompetence (unaware of skill and lacking proficiency)
  2. Conscious incompetence (aware of the skill but lacking proficiency)
  3. Conscious competence (aware of the skill and proficient with effort)
  4. Unconscious competence (aware of the skill and proficient with ease)

5. The Johari Window

The Johari Window (derived from the first names of its creators: Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham) is a self-awareness exercise commonly used to identify knowledge “gaps” or potential “blind spots” that an individual may have in relation to their team. It achieves this by examining information about oneself from four perspectives:

  1. Open Area: known to self and to others
  2. Blind Area: known by others, but not to self
  3. Hidden Area: known to self, but not by others
  4. Unknown Area: not known by self or others

6. Kotter's 8-Step Change Model

Published in the seminal work “Leading Change” (1995) and considered to be a must-read for anyone involved in change management, Harvard Business School professor John Kotter outlines a comprehensive 8-step framework that can be followed by executives at all levels:

Step 1: Create Urgency
Step 2: Form a Powerful Coalition
Step 3: Create a Vision for Change
Step 4: Communicate the Vision
Step 5: Remove Obstacles
Step 6: Create Short-Term Wins
Step 7: Build on the Change
Step 8: Anchor the Changes in Corporate Culture

7. SMART Goal-Setting Model

Over the years, different variations of terminology have evolved to describe the SMART model, however, the basic outline usually looks something like this:

S: Specific: You have a clearly articulated goal
M: Measurable: You have a quantifiable metric to track performance
A: Attainable: You have the means/resources to achieve the goal
R: Relevant: The goal is meaningful and should be attempted at the present time
T: Time-bound: You have a finish date

8. GROW Coaching Model

The GROW model is the most influential model used in coaching. It was popularised by Sir John Whitmore in his 1992 book “Coaching for Performance,” although its exact origins are not clear and there are a number of different variations of the model in the public domain. GROW can be seen as a 4-step questioning model for problem solving in business or in everyday life. These are described at length by Whitmore in his book, however, the very basics are:

G: Goals: What do you want?
R: Reality: What is happening now?
O: Options: What could you do?
W: Will: What will you do?

9. The Balanced Scorecard

The balanced scorecard (BSC), in its various forms, is a strategic performance management tool that was popularised by Robert Kaplan and David Norton during the 90s, which began with a 1992 article for HBR that proposed a more "balanced" approach to measuring corporate performance, one that didn't solely focus on financial metrics. They described four core perspectives that a company needed to measure in order to create long-term value:

  • Financial: (e.g., revenue, profit, rate of return, cash flow)
  • Customer: (e.g., market share, customer satisfaction, customer retention)
  • Internal Business Process: (e.g., productivity rates, quality measures, delivery time)
  • Learning and Growth: (e.g., engagement, turnover, training needs, best practices)

The original concept has since been updated, refined and adapted in many ways over the years. According to a 2010 annual survey by Bain & Company, the BSC was found to be the most widely used performance management framework in the world.

10. Theory X and Theory Y

Proposed by Douglas McGregor in his famous book "The Human Side Of Enterprise" (1960), Theory X and Theory Y are basic (and opposing) attitudes of management held towards employees.

Theory X assumes people are basically lazy and irresponsible by nature, and therefore need to be tightly monitored and controlled. Theory Y assumes people are basically self-motivated and trustworthy, and should therefore be approached with a participative and trusting management style.

11. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Maslow's theory, from the paper “A Theory of Human Motivation” (1943), suggests that we have five fundamental needs (or motivations), which are arranged into a “hierarchy of relative prepotency.” In general, we must mostly satisfy a lower-level need before we can focus our attention on a higher-level need. From highest to lowest:

Need for Self-Actualisation (creative fulfillment)
Esteem Needs (achievement, admiration, self-respect)
Love Needs (relationships, social connection, intimacy)
Safety Needs (security, freedom from fear)
Physiological Needs (food, water, sex, sleep)

The hierarchy is usually represented in the shape of a pyramid, however, Maslow never conveyed his theory this way. It is actually much more dynamic than a fixed pyramid structure would imply. He also suggested that the relative arrangement of needs would be "reversed" or rearranged in some people.

12. Herzberg’s Motivation-Hygiene Theory

The “two-factor” theory (more commonly known as the "motivation-hygiene" theory), proposed by Frederick Herzberg in 1959, suggests that there are certain factors involved in producing job satisfaction (motivation), while there are a separate and distinct group of factors that lead to job dissatisfaction (but not to motivation).

  • Hygiene (leading to dissatisfaction): Company Policy, Supervision, Relationship with Boss, Work Conditions, Salary, Relationship with Peers.
  • Motivators (leading to satisfaction/motivation): Achievement, Recognition, The Work Itself, Responsibility, Advancement, Growth.

13. Intrinsic Motivation (Autonomy-Mastery-Purpose)

Dan Pink published “Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us” (2009), in which he argues for the importance of intrinsic motivation for motivating employees in the workforce. Intrinsic motivation, also described as motivation 3.0, is comprised of three main parts:

  • Autonomy: the desire to direct our own lives.
  • Mastery: growing and developing in something that matters.
  • Purpose: a reason for the task to be done that connects to a larger meaning.

14. Flow Model (Csikszentmihaly)

Proposed by Dr. Mihaly Csikszentmihaly, one of the founders of the positive psychology movement, flow is the term he used to describe the mental state in which a person is completely engaged in an activity, marked by heightened concentration, intense motivation and the individual losing track of time. Commonly, people might refer to this state as being “in the zone,” "dialled in" or "in the grove." Flow is the opposite of apathy.

15. Time Management Matrix

Said to have first originated with U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower and later popularised by Stephen Covey under the name “Time Management Matrix” (p151, The 7 Habits), this model has become the most popular for use in time management training. It helps people with assigning priority to tasks by sorting them into one of four categories:

Q1: Urgent and Important (e.g., crises, deadline-driven projects)
Q2: Not Urgent and Important (e.g., relationships, building a skill set, going to the gym)
Q3: Urgent and Not Important (e.g., interruptions, some emails and phone calls)
Q4: Not Urgent and Not Important (e.g., trivia, watching T.V.)

16. Behavioural interviewing

Behavioural interviewing is a popular approach to job interviewing in which the interviewee is asked to provide specific examples that help demonstrate the use of a particular skill. The approach operates on the basic premise that "the best predictor of future performance is past performance." Examples of behavioural-based interview questions might sound like:

  • "Give me an example of a time when..."
  • "Describe a situation in which..."
  • "Tell me in detail about how you managed... "

17. Strategic HR Business Partnering (Ulrich Model)

The concept of HR business partnering, or strategic partnering, emerged during the mid-to-late 1990s, led most notably by US academic author Dave Ulrich. This idea involves HR professionals moving beyond transactional activities such as payroll, HRIS, and recruitment towards activities that link into strategic business goals such as talent management, performance management, using metrics and analytics, understanding how human capital management impacts business results, and becoming a trusted advisor (or consultant) to management rather than simply an administrative officer. The ‘Ulrich’ model or ‘three-legged stool’ is a popular, broad-based approach to HR service delivery, which is made up of three components:

  1. HR Business Partners
  2. Centres of Expertise/Excellence
  3. Shared Services.

18. SWOT Analysis

Short for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats, a SWOT analysis is one of the most commonly taught models in business strategy and marketing as a way of understanding the factors that may influence the success or failure of a new venture, initiative, or product. The model is useful for helping to separate the internal strengths and weaknesses and external opportunities and threats when considering a strategic decision.

19. The Bell Curve

The bell curve concept has many different applications. In our own work it is used in two main ways. The first is a very important and well-known concept in statistics and psychometric testing that involves something called "normal distribution" (also nicknamed the "bell curve"). Normal distribution has a specific mathematical formula for representing a set of data:

  • About 68% of the population fall within 1 standard deviation either side of the mean
  • About 95% of the population fall within 2 standard deviations either side of the mean
  • About 99.7% of the population fall within 3 standard deviations either side of the mean
The other main application of the term "bell curve" is often used by businesspeople more generally when they are referring to the controversial practice of "stack ranking" in performance management. For example, where managers are forced to rank members of their team 1-5. General Electric famously uses a 20/70/10 bell curve ratio, i.e., 20% of employees are top performers; 70% are the average; 10% are below average. This still creates a bell curved-shape, but this is slightly different from the widely used concept of a normal distribution in statistics, which follows a very precise formula.

20. Lencioni's 5 Dysfunctions of a Team

The bestselling leadership book "The Five Dysfunctions of a Team" (2002) is a business fable that uses a fictional narrative to convey its main ideas. It is written by Patrick Lencioni and has become widely popular among many HR and training professionals. It suggests a set of five core team building principles and contrasts how dysfunctional teams behave versus a cohesive team in the case of each of these five dysfunctions:

  1. Absence of trust
  2. Fear of conflict
  3. Lack of commitment
  4. Avoidance of accountability
  5. Inattention to results

21. The 80/20 Rule (The Pareto Principle)

The 80/20 Rule is a typical pattern that has been observed in a number of business and non-business environments, which suggests that about 80% of effects, results or rewards flow from 20% of causes, factors or groups. It is named after Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, who discovered in the early 1900s that 80% of the income and wealth in Italy was owned by 20% of the population (among other observations). Some common business examples assume that roughly:

  • 80% of what you achieve in your job comes from 20% of the time spent
  • 80% of a company's sales come from 20% of its products
  • 80% of a company's complaints come from 20% of its customers

22. The Peter Principle

Named after Laurence J. Peter who co-authored the 1969 book, “The Peter Principle: Why Things Always Go Wrong,” Peter suggests that "In a hierarchically structured administration, people tend to be promoted up to their level of incompetence." A common example is when a company’s top salesperson is promoted into sales management, but this move ultimately does more harm than good because the person (although an excellent salesperson) isn’t suited to managing other salespeople, which requires a different skill set.

23. “Hire for Attitude, Train For Skills”

“Hire for Attitude, Train for Skills” is a hiring motto (or general principle) that is originally attributed to Herb Kelleher, the co-founder of US-based Southwest Airlines. The recruiting philosophy suggests the most important thing to look for in a candidate is their inherent personality and character (their attitude), even if they lack some of the basic technical knowledge or skills in a particular industry. It operates on the premise that personality is crucial to performance but is very difficult to try and change. Experience, skills and qualifications, on the other hand, can be acquired more easily. It is also stated as:

  • "Character before credentials"
  • "Attitude over aptitude"
  • "Hire people for 'who they are' first; 'what they know' second"

24. Cognitive Dissonance

Cognitive dissonance is the experience of mental discomfort we feel as a result of holding two opposing cognitions (thoughts) in our head at the same time. In other words, it's that uneasy tension we have when our beliefs or behaviours are contradicted (either by our own actions or from another source). The theory suggests that people will automatically try to eliminate or reduce the feeling of dissonance (disharmony) through a number of different mechanisms, including denial, self-justification and rationalization (e.g., "I believe it's important to tell the truth, but everybody exaggerates on their resume so it's okay for me to do it.") When dissonance is triggered, our beliefs must be adjusted in order to restore the feeling of consonance (harmony).

25. 6 Principles of Influence (Cialdini)

The 6 Principles of Influence were published by psychology professor Robert Cialdini in his 1984 book "Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion,” which has remained (somewhat ironically) the most influential work on social influence since publication, and is a popular text among marketers and businesspeople. The 6 principles are:

  1. Reciprocity (people want to return favours)
  2. Commitment and Consistency (people want to honour things they have agreed to)
  3. Social Proof (people like to know what others think)
  4. Authority (people will tend to trust authority figures)
  5. Liking (people are more likely to trust message from sources they like)
  6. Scarcity (people want rare items)

26. 6 Thinking Hats (Edward de Bono)

Edward de Bono published “Six Thinking Hats” in 1985, which is presented as a method of “parallel thinking” — an alternative to argument. In parallel thinking, each thinker puts forward his or her thoughts in parallel with the thoughts of others, rather than attacking the thoughts of others. Parallel thinking guides thought processes in one direction at a time so we can effectively analyse issues, generate new ideas, and make better decisions. A very basic description of the 6 hats is as follows:

  1. White Hat (Hard Facts): Looking at data, information, evidence
  2. Red Hat (Emotions): Looking at feeling, intuition, gut reaction
  3. Black Hat (Scepticism): Looking at potential flaws, faults, dangers, obstacles
  4. Yellow Hat (Optimism): Looking at positive benefits, rewards, value, usefulness
  5. Green Hat (Creativity): Looking at possibilities, suggestions, alternatives
  6. Blue Hat (Process): Looking at the overall process itself

27. Goleman’s Model of Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence (EI or EQ) is now firmly established in business as a term that, for many professionals, replaces “people skills” and “soft skills.” EI came into the public spotlight when Daniel Goleman published “Emotional Intelligence, Why It Can Matter More Than IQ” in 1995. He suggested five main constructs of emotional intelligence:

  • Self-Awareness: Knowing one’s emotions, strengths, weaknesses, drives, values, and goals — and their impact on others
  • Self-Regulation: Controlling or redirecting disruptive emotions and impulses
  • Motivation: Being driven to achieve for the sake of achievement
  • Empathy: Considering other people's feelings especially when making decisions
  • Social Skills: Managing relationships to move people in desired directions

28. DISC Model of Human Behaviour

The DISC theory was first proposed by Harvard educated psychologist William Marston in the 1928 book "Emotions of Normal People," and it was then later developed by various companies as a self-assessment tool (questionnaire) for commercial application. DISC has become the most popular psychometric assessment for measuring common behavioural tendencies. The model is represented in many different ways, however, the basic theory includes four spectrums:

D: Dominance: outgoing and task focused (tend to be assertive, direct)
I: Influence: outgoing and people focused (tend to be expressive, talkative)
S: Steadiness: reserved and people focused (tend to be amiable, cooperative)
C: Compliance: reserved and task focused (tend to be careful, precise)

29. Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)

MBTI is most widely known and advertised as "the most widely used personality inventory in the world." Based on the theories of human personality by famous Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung, the original developers of the personality inventory were Katharine Cook Briggs and her daughter, Isabel Briggs Myers. The four core preferences (which create 16 possible letter combinations) are:

(I) Introversion -- (E) Extraversion: Orientation to the world around us: Outer world, with others, or inner world with self
(S) Sensing -- (N) Intuition: Ways of perceiving or gathering information: Real and actual, or looking at patterns and meanings
(T) Thinking -- (F) Feeling: Decision-making based on careful analysis, or consideration of the impact on others
(J) Judging -- (P) Perceiving: Dealing with outer world in orderly, planned manner; or in a spontaneous, flexible manner

30. The Big 5 Personality Traits (OCEAN Model)

In psychology, the “Big Five” is a well known and academically respected theory that suggests there are five broad domains (or dimensions) of human personality. The Big Five factors are:

(O) Openness (inventive/curious vs. consistent/cautious)
(C) Conscientiousness (efficient/organised vs. easy-going/careless)
(E) Extraversion (outgoing/energetic vs. solitary/reserved)
(A) Agreeableness (friendly/compassionate vs. analytical/detached)
(N) Neuroticism (sensitive/nervous vs. secure/confident)

31. Gallup Q12 (Buckingham and Coffman)

Gallup is the research organisation that has conducted the most comprehensive analysis of employee engagement of any company in the world. As part of their research, they found 12 questions (called the “Gallup Q12”) that best predict engagement and performance, which were published in “First, Break All the Rules” by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman (two researchers at Gallup). The Q12 is also described by Gallup as “The 12 Elements of Great Managing.” Also, the popular catchphrase, “People leave managers, not companies,” is believed to have originated with this book. (Please refer to the Gallup website to see the full list of questions.)

32. Strengths-Based Thinking (Buckingham)

Advocated by popular business author Marcus Buckingham in his bestselling book “Now Discover Your Strengths,” strengths-based thinking (or the "strengths movement") is a position that might be summarised as follows:

  • It's better to focus on building people's strengths than trying to fix their weaknesses
  • People can only perform at their best when they are in a role suited to their strengths
  • Strengths are those things that we are good at doing and enjoy, not things we are good at doing but don’t enjoy
  • Recruit, develop and manage people around their strengths to build an excellent organisation

33. Appreciative Inquiry 4-D Cycle

Appreciative Inquiry (AI) is a popular approach used by OD consultants that was pioneered by David Cooperrider of Case Western Reserve University in the mid 1980s. AI means to explore and discover the positive contributions and strengths of people and things around us in order to discover what is working well, rather than just analysing what is not. The 4-Ds are:

  1. Discovery (appreciate “the best of what is”)
  2. Dream (imagine “what could be”)
  3. Design (determine “what should be”)
  4. Destiny (create “what will be”)

34. Positive Psychology (The PERMA Model)

Positive psychology is a recent branch of psychology that places its emphasis on the study of positive emotions, happiness, fulfillment, genius and talent, strengths, high performance, and understanding how humans can function at their best, not just how to fix them when they show signs of a mental illness (e.g., neurosis, depression, personality disorder) and other abnormalities, which has been the traditional focus of psychology. The PERMA model was first introduced by Martin Seligman, one of the founders of the positive psychology movement, in his 2011 book "Flourish." Seligman suggests that there are five essential elements to human well-being and happiness:

(P) Positive Emotion
(E) Engagement
(R) Positive Relationships
(M) Meaning
(A) Achievement

35. Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP)

NLP is essentially a field of study that seeks to create "models of excellence" from studying people who are excellent at something, especially with regard to human interaction and communication. There is no “official version” of NLP since it has been deemed to be a general field of study, such as biology or optics (and therefore cannot be trademarked). There exist many different versions and interpretations of NLP on the market, most notably the distinction between "New Code" and "Classic Code," but in spite of this fragmentation, the field has a basic set of techniques and principles that remain popular among some consultants, coaches, salespeople, psychotherapists and educators. The list of NLP techniques can run into the hundreds. We have listed some of the most popular ones below (without full explanation).

Common principles or "presuppositions":

  • The map is not the territory;
  • People work perfectly;
  • You cannot NOT communicate;
  • The meaning of your communication is the response you get;
  • There are no failures, only feedback;
  • Every behaviour has a positive intention;
  • Mind and body are one system;
  • Subjective experience has a structure that you can decode.

Common techniques:

  • The Meta-Model;
  • The Milton-Model;
  • Pacing; Calibration;
  • Mirroring & Matching;
  • Anchoring;
  • Reframing;
  • Representational Systems;
  • Perceptual Positions;
  • Sub-modalities;
  • The Swish Pattern.

36. Covey’s 7 Habits

“The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” (1989) is one of the bestselling business / self-help books of all time and is hands down the most popular leadership development text. Covey popularised terms like “win-win,” “synergise,” “circle of influence,” “emotional bank account” and “paradigm shift,” among others. The 7 habits are:

  1. Be proactive.
  2. Begin with the end in mind.
  3. Put first things first.
  4. Think "win/win".
  5. Seek first to understand, then to be understood.
  6. Synergise.
  7. Sharpen the saw.

37. “Level 5” Leadership (Collins)

“Level 5” leadership was introduced by Jim Collins in his 2001 book “Good to Great” — one of the most influential business management books of all time. “Level 5” leadership is defined as “a paradoxical blend of personal humility and professional will.” Collins goes on to say: "It's not that Level 5 leaders have no ego or self-interest. Indeed, they are incredibly ambitious — but their ambition is first and foremost for the institution." HBR listed an article by Collins on the topic in their “10 Must Reads on Leadership” to underline the belief that it is a concept all leaders (and people with an interest in leadership) need to know.

38. Situational Leadership

The Hersey-Blanchard Situational Leadership® theory was developed by Dr. Paul Hersey (author of the 1985 book “Situational Leader”) and Ken Blanchard (author of the business classic “The One Minute Manager”). The theory suggests that there is no single "best" style of leadership and that either highly directive or highly supportive behaviour is dependent on the readiness level of followers.

S1: Telling: Low Readiness / High Task / Low Relationship
S2: Selling: Moderate Readiness / High Task / High Relationship
S3: Participating: Moderate Readiness / Low Task / High Relationship
S4: Delegating: High Readiness / Low Task / Low Relationship

39. Transformational Leadership

Transformational leadership is one of the most popular, well-researched and well-respected theories of leadership that exists today. Transformational leadership is a type of leadership style that enhances the motivation of followers through mainly non-coercive mechanisms. These mechanisms typically include things like being an inspirational role model, having a compelling vision that gives followers a sense of identity and purpose, and acting to enhance followers' sense of self-worth, as well their growth and potential so that they are transformed into becoming leaders themselves. It is often used interchangeably with the term "charismatic leadership."

40. Servant Leadership

Servant leadership is a philosophy towards leadership that involves caring for others, sharing power, putting the needs of others first, and helping people develop and perform as highly as possible. While the concept itself isn’t new, the phrase “servant leadership” was coined by Robert K. Greenleaf in “The Servant as Leader” — an essay he first published in 1970. The essay was later expanded into the book "Servant Leadership" (1977), which is still one of the most influential leadership texts ever written. The phrase has since been further used by a number of different authors and leadership consultants in many different ways.


We welcome your comments on models you might add!

Theo Winter

Theo Winter

Client Services Manager, Writer & Researcher. Theo is one of the youngest professionals in the world to earn an accreditation in TTI Success Insight's suite of psychometric assessments. For more than a decade, he worked with hundreds of HR, L&D and OD professionals and consultants to improve engagement, performance and emotional intelligence of leaders and their teams. He authored the book "40 Must-Know Business Models for People Leaders."

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