Frontline leaders with adaptive leadership skills are essential in building a sustainable business amid innovations and constantly changing digital transformations. In other words, it is a form of leadership that is constantly evolving in order to meet the needs of the organization and its employees. 

adaptive leadership

These leaders will be able to transform their approach on the basis of the latest information and feedback. Honing this skill will allow them to better nurture their team and create a culture of innovation.

In this post, we will guide you on the definition, importance, and qualities of this leadership style. 


It is an important leadership style where the leaders need to respond effectively to the rapidly changing environment. It allows the organizations and individuals to lead the transitions in company goals and processes in liaison with the variations of market dynamics.

This skill is highly crucial in economic uncertainty and disruptive technological evolution. It takes a pragmatic approach to maintain agility and resilience in facing challenges. However, adopting them in your daily operations can be quite challenging. Hence, leaders must have open-mindedness and empathy in their role. 


This leadership style allows organizations to easily adapt to the ever-changing environment, like new challenges and opportunities, while maintaining their goals and values. Supportive leaders should possess this skill to cope with rapid changes while quickly adjusting their strategies, policies, procedures, and practices in order to meet the needs of the moment.

There are many benefits associated with this leadership style: 

  • Improved decision making
  • Increased flexibility and agility
  • Higher level of innovation
  • Greater sense of urgency
  • Ability to better identify and respond to change
  • Improved trust and collaboration

Qualities of an Adaptive Leadership

Let’s find out what the qualities that an adaptive leader are:  

1. Goal-specific decisions

2. Creating a progressive workspace

3. Handling adversities with a positive attitude

4. Proactive Commitment

5. Bold Experimentation

6. Empathetic Personality

Principles of an Adaptive Leader

Some of the principles of an adaptive leader are mentioned below. 

  1. Giving Work Back to People

There are different employees in a workplace offering unique perspectives to an organization. This enables the organization to harness differing views and the potential opportunities that can be explored. 

One of the most important components of adaptive leadership is giving work back to people, which means providing proper benefits to the employees of the organization. It comprises active participation and independence within the workforce.

  1. Maintaining Disciplined Attention

Constantly evolving markets will cause some unprecedented challenges every day. So, to reinforce a culture of consistent problem-solving, the employees should practice accommodating new information into their perspectives, no matter if it is antithetical to their current knowledge. 

Leaders need to constantly solve conflicts, facilitate effective communication, and maintain a culture. Employees should be bold enough to examine their own thoughts and not distract themselves from the unpleasant situation. 

  1. Regulate Distress

One of the major concerns of adaptive leadership is distress. It is a common symptom of adapting to unique knowledge paradigms and influences the growth of an organization. Employees might take some time to face the new knowledge challenges. As per the studies, managers possessing this leadership style demonstrate a high level of efficiency when dealing with a crisis.

  1. Identifying the Adaptive Challenge

Great leaders possess good attention to detail skills. They are quick to identify any challenge in the workplace. The most important factor in achieving success in an eventual adaptive challenge is acceptance of an issue. Identify if there is any issue associated with your organization or do you need to have some technical adjustments within the organization to solve the problem. 

  1. Getting on the Balcony

It means you should be able to see a bigger picture of the entire business environment by carefully identifying the array of constantly changing factors. Factors that include changes are adopting new technologies, large-scale or small-scale demographic movements, demands of the consumer base, and severe disruption in the marketplace.

  1. Letting their employees voice their concerns 

The final element of this leadership style is organizational justice which enables everyone within the hierarchy of the organization to voice their concerns. There are a lot of criticisms, as well as varying levels of sophistication, at different levels of a company. Hence the leaders must maintain honest communication and transparency with open-door policies across different levels of the company.


Adaptive leadership style enables the organization to maximize their team productivity by incorporating these dimensions into their strategies. This will help the frontline leaders turn around the business to a different level. The leaders can earn more profits and can soon emerge as leading company leaders. 
If you are looking for a partner, Lean Leaders Plus is here to help you. We provide leadership consultant services which can take your organization to the next level. We can help your teams function better, whether it’s your senior leadership team or one of your operational teams. Call us to learn more.