With adaptive leadership, turn change into an opportunity to improve your company


Adaptive leadership is a tool that allows leaders to anchor their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors in situations of change, focus on evaluating traditional strategies, and know if it is necessary to modify them creatively and innovatively to develop complementary competencies in work teams.

The company leader must have the necessary managerial skills to have a broad view of the business, the staff, and the environment, in order to make decisions within the organization. 

What are the particular characteristics of adaptive leadership? What makes it so special among all types of leadership and if it is used within an organization, how to do it correctly?

What is adaptive leadership?

Adaptive leadership is the practice of mobilizing people to face difficult challenges that provide them with new experiences, learning, competencies, and capabilities so that they can thrive in the workplace.

According to professionals from wow essay writing services, among the characteristics of adaptive leadership is proposing changes based on the construction of something new, taking advantage of the past, and using creativity, innovation and experimentation. 

Other characteristics of adaptive leadership are:

  • Mobilizes people to solve their problems: breaks paradigms and encourages employees to develop skills that allow them to deal with the problems that arise, as well as to develop a creative mindset.
  • Motivates, organizes, guides, and focuses attention: maintains personal and team motivation to achieve business objectives and organizes, as well as plans and guides the workgroup in the development of its activities.
  • Addresses difficult problems: adaptive leadership must have the ability to react to changes in a globalized world so that the company remains competitive.

This leadership model seeks to generate solutions to adaptive challenges (whose definitions and solutions require learning) and not too technical problems (whose definitions and solutions are concrete).

This is a type of leadership that takes as a reference the concept of evolution in biology, in the sense that a successful adaptation must comply with three characteristics: 

  • Preserve DNA that guarantees survival: for example, grizzly bears evolved into white bears when they reached the poles to have an advantage when hunting.
  • Discarding unnecessary DNA: grizzly bears that did not have a hunting advantage died from lack of food and did not pass their genes to the next generation.
  • Create the DNA needed to adapt to challenging environments by combining experiences and learning with new competencies and capabilities to meet new challenges. 

Unlike situational leadership, adaptive leadership is not about accommodating to the environment or context but to the dynamics of people, focusing on understanding, beyond technical problems, the problems at the human level.

What is the function of adaptive leadership?

According to the web portal Aurea and wow essay writing services, the person who exercises adaptive leadership should seek to inspire his team and obtain results thanks to them and not at their expense. 

This type of leadership should encourage each collaborator to give the best of himself by raising the view of the whole team towards more transcendent objectives. 

To be a great adaptive leader, it is necessary to be aware of the individualities of each person in the work team and the way in which each one adapts to the circumstances in order to balance the day-to-day tasks with the global challenges of the company.

Adaptive leadership must achieve all of this with a high degree of flexibility, a sense of transformation, and commitment to the team and the company.

Therefore, the task of adaptive leadership is not to give answers and solutions or point the way to them, but to stimulate, motivate, organize, guide, and focus attention, supporting people who are facing an adaptive challenge. 

Advantages of adaptive leadership

Among the benefits of adaptive leadership is that the adaptive leader seeks to bring out the best in each of the collaborators. Because of this, he builds organizations that last over time. 

Adaptive leadership is a business management tool that allows for committed, stable and productive work teams.

Other benefits of adaptive leadership are:

  • Motivates employees’ commitment to the organization’s objectives: this type of leadership is interested in reorienting labor competencies towards the goals that are set and supports employees emotionally in the face of difficulties, generating autonomy to solve problems and adaptability to new scenarios.
  • Improves the aptitude and autonomy of employees: by encouraging employees to give the best of themselves in search of results, not at their expense, but thanks to them, the aspirational philosophy of the organization becomes sustainable in the long term. 

How to put adaptive leadership into practice?

One of the fundamental keys to exercising adaptive leadership is to distinguish between technical challenges and adaptive challenges. 

Adaptive challenges involve values, beliefs, strategies, various dimensions, and stakeholders, which makes them more difficult to identify without ‘textbook solutions. 

To implement adaptive leadership properly, it is recommended to follow these steps:

  • Take distance from the situation: the adaptive leader must be able to step away from their daily tasks for a while, reflect on who is doing what, and look at what is really going on with a different perspective. What are the losses that are happening? Can I see any opportunities from this time? 
  • Identify the adaptive challenge: look specifically for what adaptive challenge you are facing. Assess whether to survive, reinvent, or maintain the team. Identify which organizational/team customs, values, and habits need to be changed in this scenario and which need to be reinforced with adaptive leadership.
  • Look at the stakeholders or the different interaction groups in the company: determine who is involved in the change, who will support it, who is against it, and how to manage these different groups. 
  • Regulate stress and pressure: to achieve good adaptive leadership, and you have to maintain an adequate level of pressure; when it is high, people are not effective, and when it is low, people no longer perceive the need to change. The same with work stress; it is necessary to generate empathy, trust, and compassion among the work team. 
  • Keep the focus: people must be involved in the development of change. Therefore, empower and delegate, constantly set short-term goals, and think of team innovations or different solutions for the work to be done. Creating a space to strengthen new skills and capabilities is also essential. 
  • “Give the ball back” to the team: sharing tasks and responsibilities with the team is essential. Therefore, it is important as an adaptive leader to analyze where you can contribute and how you can empower each team member in his or her role, to build a true collective work based on trust.

Now you know what adaptive leadership is and what you would need to apply it correctly in your work team. Remember to recognize the limits of the collaborators, empathy about their personal situations, and the importance of motivating the team in each phase of the process. 

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