Thoughts on Adaptive Leadership

Over the past year; I have embraced the idea of adaptive leadership. Our traditional conditioning teaches us that leaders are the ones with the instructions, they tell us what to do and we follow them to the end goal. I believe that traditional leadership models are archaic and inept at solving the problems that our world faces. In the place of the traditional leader/follower leadership model; I concede that adaptive leadership is necessary. Where the role of follower and leader are interchangeable – adaptive to the scenario at hand.

Within each of us, there are human personality characteristics that serve different situations better than another person. For example; I may be extremely nimble in my ability to react to swiftly changing situations and prioritize the best course of action to achieve big-picture goals. You, on the other hand, may be extremely detailed oriented and need a plan for each and every 15-minute interval of the day’s activities. Neither of these modes of thought is exclusively better than the other. They both are necessarily dependent on their context.

Adaptive leadership allows for the ebb and flow of these ever-changing dynamics to regulate one’s role as a leader or a follower. It does not absolve one of accountability. However, it creates an atmosphere of shared accountability across teams, groups, and communities that is mandatory if we are to share the weight of our communities problems and the weight of solving those problems.

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