The Importance of Adaptive Leadership

Today’s post comes to us from board member Raciel Sosa and is based on an article he originally published in Forbes Mexico. Here he talks about why adopting an adaptive leadership model is critical to accomplishing your strategic goals. You can find the Spanish version of this article here.

Leaders undoubtedly develop leadership styles that tend to be particular and unique. Each one adopts the leadership style that makes sense to them. If a leader is working with an employee who is capable of executing a requested task and has the necessary competencies to do it, the leadership style can be based on trust. If, on the contrary, the employee is still developing the skills to understand what needs to be achieved and how to do it, then the style of leadership has to be more directive, and oriented to provide more clear and precise instructions.

An adaptive leader:

  • Understands the types of employees they have in front of them, according to their capabilities;
  • Has a high capability to “move” from one leadership style to another with ease, depending on the context; and
  • Knows how to create agreements, through fluent communication, with their team members. For example, if a leader is dealing with a team member who is still in a development process, it is important to let them know that since it is a new task for them, the leader will be very detailed regarding the daily follow-up of the progress on the activities, so that the team member does not feel uncomfortable when their manager is observing each detail constantly. This is why it is important to know how to generate agreements and communicate openly. It is about building a mutual empathy.

The capability to foster teamwork and collaboration has a direct influence on the relationships between team members and, as a consequence, on the company’s organizational climate.

The positive effects on employees when they are led by an adaptive leader are many but primarily, I would mention two:

  1. Decreased frequency of mistakes. When the leader manages their team appropriately, the mistakes that they can make are reduced by definition.
  2. The relationship between the leaders and their collaborators improves.

It is worth mentioning that a company’s results are directly related to the strategic decisions of their leaders. Meaning that, for a company to be successful, the decisions made by the management team have to be correct. Not only must the decisions be correct, they then must be carefully executed.  

Adaptive leadership is an important competency for leaders at all levels of an organization.

4 thoughts on “The Importance of Adaptive Leadership

  1. Raciel, This article is right on point and especially relevant in the current work environment which includes at least 4 different and distinct generations of workers, and at all levels of the organization. The application of an adaptive leadership approach is nothing short of essential if an organization has any hope of sustaining success in today’s highly competitive and dynamic environment.

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