The 5 Principles of Adaptive Leadership

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.

 

Below are Five Principles of Adaptive Leadership:

 

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Five Principles Infographic

Five Principles Lesson Plan

Principle #1: LEADERSHIP IS AN ACTIVITY, NOT A POSITION

John Muir inspired others by writing, teaching, exploring, advocating for the preservation of wilderness, and  telling vivid stories. In 1903, President Theodore  Roosevelt visited Muir in Yosemite. On a 3-day camping trip, they put together the foundation of Roosevelt's innovative and notable conservation programs.


Principle #2: ANYONE CAN LEADER, ANYTIME, ANYWHERE

Decades before women could vote, two crusading Boston socialites, Harriet Hemenway and her cousin, Minna Hall, helped initiate a movement to protect wild birds from plume hunters. Their efforts led to the formation of the National
Audubon Society and the passage of the Migratory Bird Act, effectively ending the plume trade.


Principle #3: IT STARTS WITH YOU AND IT MUST ENGAGE OTHERS

Nelson Mandela evolved from violent revolutionary to peacemaker to promote inclusiveness and reconciliation with
South Africa's white minority. He championed reconciliation among South Africa's polarized races, espousing the principles of nation-building and co-operative governance.


Principle #4: your purpose must be clear 

Mahatma Gandi's purpose was to fight for the freedom of India from Great Britain using nonviolence. Gandhi relied on firm resolve and single mindedness of purpose to sustain him through frequent and sometimes prolonged periods of imprisonment and fasting.


Principle #5: it's risky

Rachel Carson challenged pesticide safety and empowered people to take risk assessment and mitigation into their own hands. After she wrote Silent Spring, the media, chemical companies, and the agricultural industry all embarked on a character assassination of Rachel Carson. They painted her as hysterical, irrational, an amateur, and a sentimental nature lover who distorted science.

 
 

Source of the five principles: OMalley, E., & Cebula, A. (2015). Your leadership edge: Lead any time, anywhere. Wichita, KS: KLC Press, Kansas Leadership Center.