LIGC Blog Post 4 – Adaptive Leadership

Today’s simulation, titled “Patient Zero”, immersed our team within the context of a zombie apocalypse and required us to make a series of five increasingly difficult decisions. The event I personally found to be the hardest to grapple with was Event 3. To give a brief summary, Event 3 required us to decide whether or not we wanted to subsidize Bilbring and Hite’s ineffective vaccine. This event was the most difficult for me because it dealt with major issues of classism and unknown public health safety concerns. On the one hand, we could subsidize the vaccine and boost public morale, but risk the potential of long-lasting negative effects. On the other hand, we could decide not to subsidize the vaccine, which would cause public outrage. Living in the midst of a pandemic, it was helpful to apply this situation to the real world when coming to my final choice. Ultimately, what made this event so challenging was the amount of uncertainty surrounding it.

Our team’s dynamic as a whole was respectful and cordial throughout the duration of the simulation. In the midst of conflicting opinions, everyone was given a fair chance to state their case. One method that was utilized for conflict resolution was weighing the pros and cons of each decision. Once the pros and cons were discussed, we would then take a vote. Proceeding every vote, we maintained the principle of “majority rules” when making the final decision. This proved to be a very logical, straightforward, and effective system for our team. One area of improvement could be making more of an effort to include every single team member in the discussions. When working on a team, it is so important to individually seek every team member’s opinion because not everyone is quick to speak up. Everyone’s opinion is relevant and could potentially open up new discussions that no one else thought of.

Adaptive leadership is a model relying on principles of emotional intelligence, organizational justice, development, and character in order to help teams thrive in challenging environments. One of the most interesting traits of adaptive leadership is that it actively encourages productive disequilibrium. Productive disequilibrium, though outrightly uncomfortable, promotes learning. Adaptive leadership tackles adaptive problems— problems without preexisting solutions. I find this leadership style to be appropriate, as many present issues do not have the answers conveniently spelled out. Adaptive leadership is difficult to implement though based on the fact that it relies on trial and error and creating subsequent adjustments. 

Two elements of adaptive leadership which resonated with me the most was organizational justice and emotional intelligence. Organizational justice puts the success of the organization as the top priority. Bryan’s personal story about a merger he dealt with exemplified this concept of organizational justice perfectly. The merger, though uncomfortable due to the loss of jobs, ultimately had to be done for the good of the organization. Concerning emotional intelligence, it is a principle which creates trust among members by recognizing everyone’s feelings. This stuck out to me because empathy is a vital characteristic of an effective leader, and considering everyone’s feelings can aid tremendously in the decision-making process.

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