two woman looking at laptop screen

Adaptive Leadership: An Essential Trait

Being adaptable has become more important than ever before. With the world changing at an unbelievable pace, those who adapt quickest to those changes succeed. Hence, the concept of Adaptive leadership is extremely pertinent. Leaders are the driving force of organizations, and the more agile they are, the more adaptive their company will be. Lets delve deeper into what Adaptive leadership is and why it is an essential skill to have in the contemporary world.

What is Adaptive Leadership

Ronald Heifetz and Marty Linsky introduced The Adaptive Leadership Theory. Heifetz defines it as the act of mobilizing a group of individuals to handle tough challenges and emerge triumphant in the end. However, the question arises: Does this form of leadership transform the older ones that focused on individuality? Well, modern leadership models focus less on management and more on how one affects a group of people. Therefore, for many people, leadership is a much broader concept and hence can not be restricted to individuals. Hence, company managers and other people in leadership positions now work together with their employees to accomplish goals and initiate changes.

However, if we consider how uncertain and volatile the business world can be, leaders have to adapt to constant changes. Hence, to truly survive (even thrive) in the business world, leaders have to adapt. Only through agility can they keep up with and conquer constantly changes trends and consumer behaviours. Therefore, this leads to them coming up with new strategies and plans to tackle new and different problems.

Read: Management vs Leadership: How they differ

The Principles of Adaptive Leadership


Leadership is based on building quality relationships with those around you. Hence, an adaptive leader will have high Emotional Intelligence that helps him/her foster relationships. This is important because people’s preferences and behaviours are what drive the market, and if you understand people better, you will be able to adapt quicker.

Willingness to unlearn and learn again

This principle is not only essential for leaders, but to everyone in general. The ability and willingness to unlearn something and learn it with a different perspective is quite difficult to gain. This skill becomes even more important in volatile environments like the business world. This is because due to constant innovation, nothing remains the same and being agile to innovate with that change is what makes businesses successful. Hence, everyday leaders learn new things and have to unlearn older habits. That is just the way the world works.

woman and man sitting in front of monitor
Photo by NESA by Makers on Unsplash

Confidence in yourself and your team

To implement change, a leader must trust themselves and more importantly, their team. This is because continuously adapting to new trends and changes requires one to dive into the unknown. This requires a certain level of trust and teamwork that eventually gets the business desired results. Even if things do not work out, the organization can be rest assured that every team member gave their all.

Ensure Accountability and Inclusion

While trust in each other is important, accountability must be in place for ever member of the team, including the leader. The best adaptive leaders recognize that mistakes are part of human nature and we must identify and learn from them to succeed. This means leaders need to commit to sharing their thinking at every stage and by acting in such an open and transparent way, set a benchmark for how to engage with constituencies and stakeholders as the pandemic progresses. This promotes accountability from the highest to the lowest levels of management. Moreover, it also makes workers feel more included in the organization’s decision making process.

Therefore, agile organizations with adaptive leaders tend to be more successful. they react to change faster and adapt to newer technologies and practices. this makes them more efficient and competitive. Moreover, being agile and adaptive becomes a competitive advantage for companies, with those who fail to adapt being left behind.

What do you think are the traits leaders should have? Let us know in the comments below!

Syed Muhammad Ismail
Syed Muhammad Ismail

Writer and Content Developer at PACE Business.

With interests in Sports and Business, Ismail combined the two when he started his entrepreneurial journey. Along with the PACE Business, he has been running a sports management company, manufacturing Awards and Memorabilia for International sporting events.
Check us out at: @sparkinnv

Articles: 61

Newsletter Updates

Enter your email address below to subscribe to our newsletter

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.