Publication Details

This article originally published as: Kriflik, GK, The Environment. You! Me?: a leadership theory, The International Journal of Knowledge, Culture and Change Management, 4, 2004, 283-287. To reproduce this article seek permission from the publisher Common Ground.


This paper refers to the concept of Minimising Attainment Deficit (MAD). This is a leadership process whereby leaders help workers fulfil their expectations of achieving their potential in their work. A qualitative approach to the collection and analysis of data was adopted through the use of orthodox grounded theory. Its aim was to generate rather than to test theory. This research has contributed knowledge relevant to practitioners in the area of leadership by presenting this concept as a processual theory, along with three sets of strategies employed by supervisors(leaders). These strategies aim to help subordinates(followers) minimise the gap between the level at which they are actually achieving in their job and the potential at which they perceive they could be achieving. These strategies focus on the work environment, the subordinate, and the leader. Modifying the environment was found to be the most popular choice of strategy for supervisors when attempting to make changes to accommodate subordinate needs. The research identifies this approach as the least effective in achieving expected change. The second choice of strategy focused on the subordinate (‘You’ from the supervisor’s point of view). The study has shown that such a focus was more successful than a focus on the environment. The third choice of strategy was a focus on the supervisor (‘Me’ from the supervisor’s point of view). From a subordinate’s point of view this was the most successful strategy for achieving desired change.