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  • Writer's pictureDJ Hardwick

Adaptive Leadership - Blogging Assignment 4

Updated: Oct 27, 2022

“Stay diagnostic even as you take action.” - Ronald Heifetz


Adaptive leadership is a theory that both interests and confuses me. The theory seems very abstract and I struggle to apply the concepts to examples and specific behaviors. Although I don't think the adaptive leadership theory is suited for me, I think I can still learn a great deal from the theory and apply those learnings to my own leadership style. Northhouse (2019) states "adaptive leadership is about how leaders encourage people to adapt—to face and deal with problems, challenges, and changes". Adaptive leadership theory applies to complex challenges that can't be solved using an existing solution or system. Through my leadership experiences, I have found that I thrive working in and creating systems that allow both leaders and followers to solve future complex problems using systems that have been previously created. I found the Adaptive Leadership Questionnaire to be excessively confusing and I am still not convinced that the results are accurate. I have included my results below and how each of the 6 elements are defined by Northhouse.

Get on the Balcony - 20

This score represents the degree to which you are able to step back and see the complexities and interrelated dimensions of a situation.

Total Identify the Adaptive Challenge - 17

This score represents the degree to which you recognize adaptive challenges and do not respond to these challenges with technical leadership.

Total Regulate Distress - 20

This score represents the degree to which you provide a safe environment in which others can tackle difficult problems and to which you are seen as confident and calm in conflict situations.

Total Maintain Disciplined Attention - 21

This score represents the degree to which you get others to face challenging issues and not let them avoid difficult problems.

Total Give the Work Back to People - 17

This score is the degree to which you empower others to think for themselves and solve their own problems.

Total Protect Leadership Voices From Below - 14

This score represents the degree to which you are open and accepting of unusual or radical contributions from low-status group members.



The Practice of Adaptive Leadership Quotes by Ronald A. Heifetz. (2022).

Northouse, P. G. (2019). Leadership: Theory and practice(8thed.). Sage.

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