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How Leaders Can Inspire More and Control Less


How Leaders Can Inspire More and Control Less


Susan Drumm shares an episode from her podcast series The Enlightened Executive. In this episode, she interviews Bill Adams on the Leadership Cycle model and how to use it to inspire more and control less.

Maybe you recognize yourself or another leader you know in this common but ineffective leadership pattern:

A leader wants to scale their organization, so they start working even harder, adding more hours to their workday and everyone else’s, pursuing results at the expense of people. Ultimately, their effort leads to stunted organizational growth, poor relationships with their team and employees, and exhaustion.

The reason?

While operating with this style of autocratic leadership may lead to short-term growth, it will always come with a cap.


This truth has been the guiding light behind the leadership assessment tool that has been used by more than 200,000 leaders: The Leadership Circle Profile.

According to Bill Adams, CEO of the Leadership Circle, a “high-control” leadership style incurs a high energetic cost for everyone.

Leaders inevitably cast a long shadow on their organization, affecting far more than their direct reports. This shadow can either be healthy or unhealthy, and leaders are generally unaware of the shadow. But there’s no denying that it exists.


The first step to improving your leadership effectiveness (and thereby improving the performance and growth of your organization) is to become aware of your current level of effectiveness.

This is where a 360 assessment tool like the Leadership Circle Profile is most powerful. Like most other 360 tools, it gathers comprehensive ratings from those you work with, those who work for you, and those you work for to provide insights. But the Leadership Circle model goes several steps beyond this, highlighting the underlying belief systems and assumptions that are driving your behavior. These findings are summarized on one insightful chart, showing where you have a foot on the gas and where you have a foot on the brake with your leadership.

The Leadership Circle model is unique because it boldly addresses the complex emotional and interpersonal components of leadership, which are often “invisible” and left out of other assessment tools.

The model not only includes an assessment of a leader’s performance and policies but, crucially, also looks at cultural and psychological components of leadership.

As Bill puts it, this assessment is “strong medicine.” It takes courage to examine yourself and be willing to receive critical feedback. But without this awareness, you cannot know what to improve.

Listen to the podcast, How to Inspire More and Control Less as a Leader, on