Adaptive leadership is the way to go for entrepreneurs

Sandeep Kashyap
4 min readFeb 6, 2017


“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man!” — George Bernard Shaw.

As they say, the only constant thing in the world is change. You have no choice but to adapt to whatever life brings you. This applies to everything you have concern with. And, your work life is no exception.

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If you are an entrepreneur change is something you regularly need to deal with. Your employees, customers, workload and other resources keep on changing with time. This is why adaptive leadership becomes so important.

According to Ron Heifetz, director of Harvard’s Center for Public Leadership, adaptive leaders are able to understand dynamic situations in a better way. So they find it easy to adapt to changes and help their followers to meet the changed requirements without losing their trust.

By now, you must have got some idea about the topic. But, do you know why practicing adaptive leadership is a challenging task? This is because you need to deviate from your usual approach to take actions. It also takes time to show results, so one needs to be really patient.

In this article, I will discuss in detail why leaders should try to implement adaptive approach in their leadership. And, how can they bring it into practice? Let us take a look:

Importance of adaptive leadership

Before getting into the details of its significance, I would like you to know the definition of adaptive leadership. As per Cambridge Leadership Associates, “Adaptive Leadership is a practical leadership framework that helps individuals and organizations adapt and thrive in challenging environments. It is being able, both individually and collectively, to take on the gradual but meaningful process of change”.

If I talk about the biggest benefit of adaptive leadership, it’s the ability to distinguish between adaptive and technical challenges. When it comes to adaptive challenges, you need to adjust your values and actions. On the other hand, when you come across technical challenges things can be fixed right away in most cases.

With adaptive leadership, you will be able to deal with unexpected challenges in a better way. This is because you and your team will be prepared to come up with solutions to meet such challenges. So, this approach proves to be a blessing for business resilience.

How to bring it into practice?

Now it is time to know how you can practice adaptive leadership. Here are a few initial steps you can take to implement this type of leadership -

Consider your team’s opinions

Remember, you alone can’t solve everything. There is always a lot to be learned from others. You hire people because they are master in their respective fields. Plus, they have their own perspective to look at things. Therefore, you should be open to different ideas and opinions as an entrepreneur.

Delegate responsibilities to your people

Delegating responsibilities to your team members is a great way for fostering leadership in them. There are many other benefits of doing this. You will not only get an important piece of work done, but also become better at explaining tasks/responsibilities to the team.

Be honest about effectiveness of a solution

You should be absolutely clear about the outcomes of implementing a solution. If a solution fails even after implementing a number of times, bring changes in your approach. Analyze and find out what’s causing it to fail. Also, as I mentioned earlier that a solution takes time to show positive results, you need to be patient enough to wait for results to come.

Analyze your work

Reflecting on your work is another important aspect of adaptive leadership. As soon as you are done with a task, analyze the points you were good at as well as where you lagged. Reviewing what you have done, and how you did it brings more clarity in your approach to deal with challenges in future.

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Adaptive leadership is the need of the hour. Being an entrepreneur you must implement it in your organization to tackle unexpected challenges successfully. I’m sure you must have some tips or ideas on the topic, if you have you can share them in comments.

About The Author

Sandeep Kashyap is the Founder of ProofHub. You can connect with him onTwitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

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Sandeep Kashyap

Internet Entrepreneur, CEO of SDP Labs and Founder of ProofHub