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In praise of COVID-19: discovering adaptive leadership in unprecedented times

In praise of COVID-19: discovering adaptive leadership in unprecedented times The purpose of this paper is to explore adaptive leadership behavior during a global health crisis in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. It discusses the characteristics of adaptive leadership and offers practical steps to help managers lead through tough times.Design/methodology/approachThis paper is based on an in-depth study of a mid-sized multinational professional service firm where 25 frontline managers were interviewed. Individual stories about the challenges and opportunities of how these managers led their company out of ambiguity contribute to critical insights as discussed in this paper.FindingsFirst, leading adaptively involves a fundamental acknowledgment of your vulnerabilities by turning them into a source of inner strength through the support of others. Second, it is important to harness collective wisdom to accelerate urgent and complex decision-making. Third, experimentation is key to breaking away from status quo and venturing into innovative practices. Fourth, following personal instincts while exercising objective judgment could give you the courage to think and act differently.Originality/valueThis paper offers firsthand insights into the mindsets and behaviors of practicing managers who spontaneously shared their deeper feelings and expectations of their leadership setbacks and foresight of what would be expected of the “new” normal in a post-pandemic era. The perspectives offered here provide a deeper dimension to the current understanding of adaptive leadership. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Strategic HR Review Emerald Publishing

In praise of COVID-19: discovering adaptive leadership in unprecedented times

Strategic HR Review , Volume 20 (3): 7 – Aug 11, 2021

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
© Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN
1475-4398
eISSN
1475-4398
DOI
10.1108/shr-01-2021-0009
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to explore adaptive leadership behavior during a global health crisis in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. It discusses the characteristics of adaptive leadership and offers practical steps to help managers lead through tough times.Design/methodology/approachThis paper is based on an in-depth study of a mid-sized multinational professional service firm where 25 frontline managers were interviewed. Individual stories about the challenges and opportunities of how these managers led their company out of ambiguity contribute to critical insights as discussed in this paper.FindingsFirst, leading adaptively involves a fundamental acknowledgment of your vulnerabilities by turning them into a source of inner strength through the support of others. Second, it is important to harness collective wisdom to accelerate urgent and complex decision-making. Third, experimentation is key to breaking away from status quo and venturing into innovative practices. Fourth, following personal instincts while exercising objective judgment could give you the courage to think and act differently.Originality/valueThis paper offers firsthand insights into the mindsets and behaviors of practicing managers who spontaneously shared their deeper feelings and expectations of their leadership setbacks and foresight of what would be expected of the “new” normal in a post-pandemic era. The perspectives offered here provide a deeper dimension to the current understanding of adaptive leadership.

Journal

Strategic HR ReviewEmerald Publishing

Published: Aug 11, 2021

Keywords: Experimentation; Collective intelligence; Adaptive leadership; Leadership vulnerability; Leadership instincts; Human compassion

References