Adaptive Leadership

Adaptive Leadership

Adaptive Leadership

Adaptive Leadership has as its main aim adapting organisations to the external and internal pressures for change. It is the style with which this is achieved that makes the evolution of this approach relevant.

Adaptive leadership has a profound impact on the wellbeing and performance of the workforce. It is a style that helps to embed a Positive Workplace Culture into organisations.

For more information on Adaptive Leadership, see Prof Mowbrays
Guide to Adaptive Leadership


All types of organisation are facing the need to survive in ever increasingly complex environments. Such environments have evolved during a period of extremely fast advancements in science and technology, combined with an awareness of the dangers and damage that human beings cause to the planet.

So vast is the complexity of the world in which organisations have to survive that a different idea of leadership is being applied that draws on the experience and expertise of everyone in an organisation to contribute to the survival of the organisation.

This is known as Adaptive Leadership.

Go to our Video Library to see Professor Mowbray's video about Adaptive Leadership versus Transformational Leadership.

Principles of Adaptive Leadership

Adaptive Leadership can apply 4 principles that encourage the engagement of followers in helping an organisation adapt to its environment:

  • The understanding of the underlying purpose of the organisation
  • The utility of people skills/mix/experience in assisting with adaptation
  • A tolerance of ambiguity
  • A freedom to act

These principles accord strongly with those that support an approach that promotes commitment, trust and engagement within organisations. Commitment and trust between the leader and followers is the bedrock for Adaptive Leadership.

The focus for Adaptive Leadership

Adaptive Leaders have the characteristics associated with clear direction with committed ambition - a strongly seductive characteristic in individuals.

Adaptive Leaders exert strategic influence on their environment; they are active in pursuing opportunities for the organisation within a complex environment; they foresee opportunities; they are personally flexible and entertain diverse views and opinions.

Adaptive Leaders are willing to experiment, and take calculated risks; they encourage innovation, and have a style that is personally open.

Adaptive Leaders learn how to follow, and followers learn how to lead. This is the essence of the approach.

Click here for information on our in house Adaptive Leadership Development Programme.

Related Courses

Leadership Coaching

Cognitive Coaching

Leaders Retreat


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