Theory Application

Adaptation is defined as: a process of modification to become more suitable for a new use or purpose; becoming adjusted to new conditions.

During our LDR200L class, we were given leadership theories for our leadership workshops. I was beyond happy to receive the theory of Adaptive Leadership. Since I have came to college I have been a chameleon: always adapting  to constantly changing conditions. Leaders must always think their feet and adapt to ever-changing conditions that they encounter. In my opinion, this theory is most related to everyday life because life never goes according to plan 24/7.

The Adaptive Leadership Theory made its first appearance in 1994.  Ronald Heifetz, the researcher behind this theory published his book Leadership Without Easy Answers, which included findings on adaptive leadership. Heifetz continued his studies and brought multiple other researchers in to help with this process. He worked with Sinder, Grashow, Linsky, and Laurie to start developments on the Adaptive Theory. The Adaptive Theory made way into the field and is still being researched today to add new findings.

With this specific leadership theory there are four different perspective to look at and six behaviors. The perspectives include biology, service, psychotherapy, and systems. Each perspective explains how adaptation occurs in four different ways. The six behaviors include: Get on the Balcony, Identify Adaptive Challenges, Regulate Distress, Maintain Disciplined Attention, Give Work Back to the People, and Protect Leadership Voices from Below. Each of the behaviors provide an outline of what a Leader should do when they are adapting. Each behavior is free flowing, and links one behavior to the next. I believe that Adaptive Leadership has many more strengths than weaknesses. One strength is that this approach is process based. The theory clearly explains the interaction between leader and followers, which can clear up any ambiguity one may have about their interaction. The approach can also be used within any professional field. Students in college can use this approach and so can doctors in the ER. Since this theory is still fairly new, there is a lack of empirical evidence to back up all of the claims, however, more research is being done to gain new knowledge about the theory.

This leadership theory revolves around adaptation during any possible situation. I have experienced many instances in college where I had to think on my feet and adapt to different situations. When on the LAS in the D trip, we were always prepared for something to change within a minutes notice. Jesi constantly reminded us to just “willow with it.” As leaders we must always be able to react to any situation. While on the trip, I personally had to adapt to the type of service I was doing. Going into the trip I was told that I would be volunteering in the kitchen, an area that I felt very comfortable in. However, once we arrived, I was informed that I was no longer working kitchen. I was a little upset regarding the change, but knew that I had to adapt. I quickly was able to identify the adaptive challenge and work efficiently to change. In the end, I had a wonderful time doing my newly assigned task. Another time I used this theory in my life is in my fraternity. Being on the executive board of my fraternity comes with its challenges. As the member educator, I am responsible for ensuring that all members are on track with their education programs as well as schedule meetings with new members. College guys are busy. It was not until I got into college did I realize this. Being in charge of organizing all of the meetings can be tough when people are  constantly busy or abruptly cancel meetings. I have used steps of the theory such as regulating distress to keep myself sane as well as keep everyone engaged.

The Adaptive Leadership theory makes the most sense to me because it can truly be displayed in everyday life. Leaders can see it. Followers can see it. In college, everyday is a new challenge, and you don’t really know what life is going to throw your way. By understanding the Adaptive Leadership theory, one can think quickly on their feet and make the necessary change to tackle the problem at hand.

LDR200L Reflection

In the Spring of 2017, the leadership advancement scholars of 2016 took LDR200L with the wonderful Jesi Ekonen(with the help of Garrett, Jordan, and Kate) . The first day of this class I knew that it would be super fun and interesting! Jesi laid out the format for the class and allowed us as a class to come up with learning objectives that we wanted to take out of the class. As a class we wanted to better our facilitation skills, create a sense of community, and to learn more about the theories of leadership. The class was set up for us to succeed! Within the first few weeks we dove straight into initiatives: exercises that would better facilitation skills. Within the initiatives, each group presented an idea to the class and provided an activity with a debrief session following. Following our initiatives we got into exploring The Golden Circle, and starting with why. The Golden Circle hit the nail on the head with the community aspect and definitely was able to show the class the meaning of inclusive leadership. We took assessments regarding leadership theory and had practical demonstrations regarding theories as well. One of our big projects at the end of the semester, the leadership workshop, challenged each group to facilitate a 45 minute workshop that would present the class with a leadership theory. The presentation included an activity to solidify the concept, as well as a presentation to give the class the information about the theory. Within the course, I have learned so many things about leadership, some things that I did not even think existed. Our last huge project was our blogs. Yes like this one. Our WordPress has been our running project since the beginning of freshman year and will continue until we graduate. Our blogs incorporate our leadership experience, as well as our service in our communities. Some students choose to only utilize the blogs for class, while others show employers all of the experiences that they have had. For this class, we also took a trip to Detroit to perform service, which I blogged about in a recent blog. Overall, LDR200L has been a wonderful class. As a cohort we have grown as individual leaders due to the constant group think occurring throughout the class and outside experiences.

LDR200L has been a great class. I truly enjoyed the class because it was centered around our wants as a cohort. In the future, I will take the theory applications from class and apply them throughout daily life. My why statement uses a lot that I have learned from this class: “Inspire others to protect and serve communities that cannot protect themselves.” I believe that everyone has the potential to be a leader. After this class, I now know that there is indeed empirical evidence that backs up that statement. Leadership theories such as the trait and skill theories identify leaders with certain traits as well as point out skills that people can better to become leaders. I have always practiced leadership throughout middle school and high school, but it was not until this class did I truly understand the origins of leadership theories. I can also use this class directly to impact my future. I have been writing my blogs for class as well as using it as an e portfolio for employers. This class definitely has allowed me to be successful when using my blogs as a resume tool. Lastly the class allowed me to perform service in a neighborhood that needed it. As a class we went to Detroit and participated in 1.5 days of service within the community. The trip was a truly eye opening experience and allowed me to realize how grateful I truly was. The class as a whole developed my knowledge about general leadership and allows me to work toward my why statement everyday.