Addressing Complex Challenges through Adaptive Leadership: A Promising Approach to Collaborative Problem Solving

Organizations are faced with solving increasingly complex problems. Addressing these issues requires effective leadership that can facilitate a collaborative problem solving approach where multiple perspectives are leveraged. In this conceptual paper, we critique the effectiveness of earlier leadership models in tackling complex organizational issues. We then examine one promising model, adaptive leadership, in detail and propose that this model provides a leadership approach for addressing current organizational realities. The model, proposed and developed over the last two decades, fundamentally supports the assumption of leadership by multiple stakeholders, with the formulation of the leadership dependent on the emergent problem. Adaptive leadership, with its focus on collaborative problem-solving utilizing multiple perspectives, is especially applicable to large organizations faced with solving complex problems involving many stakeholders.