Adaptive Leadership

Adaptive Leadership

One of the things that I have been thinking about since mid-last year are the different styles of leadership that people bring to the table and work with others through. This is in the context of how I could better improve my style of leadership to the benefit of those that I am working with. As a leader, as much as it might be on me to complete the objective, it’s also on me to ensure that I am helping my colleagues accomplish their own goals and find ways that they can better work with others in the organization in the future.

I had previously heard about examples of commanding leadership, transformational leadership, and servant leadership. In Global Leadership, we talked about leaders who have had a visionary, coaching, affiliative, democratic, pacesetting, or commanding attitude, as well as which styles worked best. But one of the things that has drawn me towards thinking about adaptive leadership is how this is used to look at old problems in a new light. Things that seem intractable and set in stone aren’t always that, and instead of playing by the old rules we sometimes need to create new ones ourselves.

Another thing that drew me towards this style of leadership is one that I can now relate to more in hindsight. Currently, I am reading a book titled “Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In”, by Roger Fisher and William Ury. In it the authors discuss ways at reaching a consensus in a mutually beneficial manner, not one that favors one side or another. To this effect, Fisher and Ury talk a lot about not only identifying the shared interests that a party might have with another, but also about “looking for opportunities to act inconsistently with their perceptions.”

When one thinks about adaptive leadership and what that entails, communication and negotiation seem to fit right in, as this NPR segment on the Turkey Greek relationship and George Papandreou would suggest. (To listen to the segment, click the title at the top of this post.)


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