Adaptive Leadership Style

Adaptive Leadership Style

Adaptive leadership is a style of leadership that emphasizes the importance of each and every person and role within the company. Adaptive leadership views the organization as an ever-changing, living organization, where employees can learn, adapt, and grow. Adaptive leaders mobilize people towards a common goal and also have the courage to experiment with new ideas and approaches. Adaptive leadership is the practice of mobilizing groups of people to tackle tough challenges and thrive. Learn how to adopt this style and how to become an adaptive leader!

What is Adaptive Leadership?

The term is derived from evolutionary biology and it means ‘getting adapted to the changes for survival’. All types of organizations are facing the need to survive in ever-increasingly complex environments. Adaptive leadership from an organization's context refers to shaping and shifting the organization to a form that is meaningful and relevant to a changing environment. An adaptive leader should be able to discard unnecessary elements, keep essential ones, and must create a new set of organizational elements that can empower the organization to deal with the change.

What is Adaptive Leadership Style?

The main aim of the Adaptive Leadership Style is to enable organizations to adapt to the external and internal pressures for change. It is the style with which this is achieved that makes the evolution of this approach relevant.  Modern organizations are very complex and have their own leadership challenges. The competitive world in which they need to exist, survive and thrive in fast-changing due to globalization and rapid technological advances triggered by fast-developing economies all across the globe. To tackle modern leadership issues, we need an adaptive leadership style that draws on the experience and expertise of everyone in an organization to contribute to the survival of the organization. In a nutshell, it is the ability to take on the gradual but meaningful process of adaptation, and the leadership style to achieve this is known as Adaptive Leadership Style.

Principles of Adaptive Leadership:

The principles of adaptive leadership encourage the engagement of followers to help the organization adapt to its environment. Given below are the principles of adaptive management:

1. Vision & Purpose of Organization: The first principle is a clear understanding of the underlying purpose of the organization. An adaptive leader must articulate a clear vision of the organization to the employees aligning the values of the organization with the personal values of your employees. This helps create a shared sense of purpose that motivates employees by giving them an ideal mission to strive for.

2. The utilization of people skills/mix/experience in assisting with adaptation based on commitment and trust between the leader and followers. Adaptive leaders must involve employees in the decision-making process and provide them flexibility over how they perform their work.

3. Adaptive leaders must be able to tolerate ambiguity and provide directions, support, opportunities, coaching, mentoring training, and feedback to one’s followers. This allows your employees to grow professionally and achieve a sense of mastery in their work. It may also bolster their self-esteem and give them a renewed sense of purpose. 

4. Adaptive leader provides the team members with the freedom to act. Such a leader rewards employees' for their success and achievements. Rewarding employees gives them a sense of accomplishment and makes them feel part of an organization that cares about them.

Characteristics of Adaptive Leaders:

  • Leaders are capable of adapting to the changes in the internal atmosphere of an organization
  • Leaders are flexible and capable of accommodating to the changing environment
  • Leaders are aware of the contextual environment and make sure that their decisions are relevant with respect to the time and space
  • Leaders provide clear direction with committed ambition
  • Leaders are able to manage their lusts
  • Leaders apply their perceptual knowledge in a given context to improve the productivity of their team
  • Adaptive leadership formulates feasible alternatives for a problem and leads the team with a selected mode of action.
  • Adaptive leadership considers multiple interpretations of a problem
  • Adaptive leadership favors the self-directedness of employees so that they can solve their own problems
  • Adaptive leaders thrive in never-been-done-before settings
  • Leaders exert strategic influence on their environment
  • Leaders are active in pursuing opportunities for the organization
  • Leaders entertain diverse views and opinions
  • Leaders are willing to experiment, take calculated risks
  • Leaders encourage innovation

Advantages of Adaptive Leadership:

  • This leadership style is highly effective in situations where the variables undergo continuous changes because traditional strategies become limited in these cases.
  • This type of leadership takes up an algorithmic approach involving better policies to cope with every given situation and a combat-ready attitude towards changes.
  • Adaptive leadership connects instability with core values and nourishes a culture that considers the changes as well as the difference in opinions within the subjects.
  • This style requires great analytical flairs of the leader or members to set team goals and trace the ways to accomplish the same using the given infrastructure and within a given time limit.

Book to Reference:

“The Practice of Adaptive Leadership” by Ronald Heifetz, Alexander Grashow, and Marty Linsky (2009) is a great book for the learners who want to explore this approach further.

Adaptive leadership has a profound impact on the well-being and performance of the workforce. It is a style that helps to embed a Positive Workplace Culture into organizations.

Related Links

You may also like Adaptive Leadership Style | Agile Leadership Style | Appreciative Leadership | Authentic Leadership Style | Authoritarian Leadership Style | Bad Leadership Style | Bureaucratic Leadership Style | Charismatic Leadership | Collaborative Leadership | Crisis Leadership Style | Cross-Cultural Leadership | Democratic Leadership | Directive Leadership Style | Emergent Leadership | Facilitative Leadership | Factors of Leadership | Laissez-Faire Leadership | Leadership Styles | Lean Leadership Approach | Level Five Leadership | Narcissistic Leadership | Narrative Leadership Style | Scientific Management Style
Creation Date Thursday, 07 March 2013 Hits 12647 Leadership Theories, theories of leadership, types of leadership

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