Adaptive Team Leadership: Definition & Strategies

Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

This lesson will define the concept of adaptive leadership and go over some of the numerous strategies leaders can use, including encouraging continuing education, embracing diversity, and more.


Henry Ford once said that one shouldn't find fault and, instead, one should find a remedy. If we could sum up one kind of leadership, called adaptive leadership, in a maxim, then this saying would fit perfectly.

Let's learn why by defining adaptive leadership and then go over some strategies leaders can use when managing a team with this style.

What is Adaptive Leadership?

Adaptive leadership is a form of management where an individual is able to successfully prepare for, accommodate, and acclimate to any kind of environment, including a nebulous one.

Adaptive leadership not only involves a dynamic leader but also the people whom he or she leads. These leaders may distribute managerial responsibilities among a team if necessary. They improve a team's ability to overcome roadblocks, adapt to new challenges, find new solutions, and accomplish significant measures of change.

Adaptive Team Leadership Strategies

So what are some strategies adaptive leaders can use with their team to achieve all this? Let's start with the basic elements that must be present from the get-go.

First, the team must have a strong baseline, an organized structure of sorts, which serves as a springboard for higher-level action. If the team is in chaos, it's going to be hard to do anything right. This means there have to be fundamental policies, procedures, and guidelines in place that the entire team understands.

Once the basic structure for success is in place (including the delegation of roles and responsibilities), then be ready to modify any parts of this structure as necessary. Perhaps you learn that it's best to give a person a new set of responsibilities. If that's the case, don't be afraid to change things. That's what adaptive leadership is all about.

But this isn't enough. An adaptive team leader will:

1. Encourage continuing education. It's hard to overcome new or unforeseen challenges without a good skill set. If your team is always at the cutting edge of their field, this helps a team adapt more easily to a changing environment.

2. Ensure everyone on the team shares information with one another freely. The power of a team in overcoming challenges lies in the collective, not in the individual.

3. Embrace individual differences. A team may be made up of individuals from all walks of life and skill sets, which is advantageous, as they can more readily adapt to new environments. If everyone was exactly the same, change becomes difficult.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account