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  • Writer's pictureSidekick

Adaptive Leadership: The Secret Sauce to Thriving Teams

What kind of leader are you? Does your unique style works in all situations and with all team members? 


Daniel Goleman, the psychologist best known for his work on emotional intelligence, argues that "being a great leader means recognizing that different circumstances may call for different approaches". 


A good place to start is understanding your leadership style. By identifying the style you naturally gravitate towards, you can better understand your go-to style and how you may need to adapt.  

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Where to Start in Understanding your Natural Style 

There are several tests and assessments that help leaders understand their natural leadership style from the DISC assessment to Myers-Briggs and more. We have been exploring the differences among these assessments, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of each. And don’t worry, we’ll share those insights with you in the coming weeks.  


In the meantime, have a look at the descriptions below—you’re likely to see yourself in one or two of them. 


Visionary Leadership:  Inspiring and motivating with a clear, long-term vision. 

You see and communicate the big picture. 

You enjoy motivating others. 

You give autonomy within a broad framework. 

You thrive in strategic change environments. 


Collaborative Leadership:  Building strong relationships and fostering team participation. 

You prioritize a positive work environment. 

You value team input and consensus. 

You are empathetic and resolve conflicts well. 

You thrive in teamwork-focused situations. 


Performance Leadership:  Setting high standards and leading by example. 

You set high expectations. 

You are results oriented. 

You prefer working with self-motivated individuals. 

You thrive in high-stakes environments. 


Developmental Leadership:  Developing individual team members’ skills and careers. 

You enjoy mentoring. 

You invest in long-term growth. 

You identify strengths and areas for improvement. 

You thrive in learning-focused environments. 


Directive Leadership:  Making immediate decisions and expecting compliance. 

You are decisive in crises. 

You prefer giving direct orders. 

You maintain tight control over outcomes. 

You thrive under high pressure. 

Where and when to adapt your style. 

The real challenge lies in adapting your style to meet the diverse needs of your team and the ever-changing situations you encounter. 


Adaptive leadership is an approach that asserts there is no single best way to lead a team.  It assumes a human-centric approach that emphasizes understanding and responding to the needs of team members at a given point in time and set of circumstances.  


Here’s a quick primer. 

What next? 

Stay tuned for an upcoming blog, where we’ll dive deeper into personality tests that can reveal even more about your leadership potential and help you refine your approach. Follow us on LinkedIn so you don’t miss it (yes, this is a shameless plug😉) 


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