Most people use “leadership” and “authority” interchangeably. Heifetz argues that there is a great difference between a figure of authority and a leader and that people in authority do not usually exercise leadership, while a leader oftentimes leads without formal authority (Flower, 1995). In the language of Adaptive Leadership, authorities perform very distinct functions: they provide their constituents with direction, protection, answers, orientation to role and to place, control of conflict, and maintenance of norms. Leaders differ from authorities in that they introduce disorientation, orchestrate conflict, raise difficult questions, and challenge norms. Sometimes a leader operates from a position of authority and can find that having authority provides both advantages and constraints to leader’s efforts to mobilize people for change (Flower, 1995).
Figure 2-3 illustrates distinctions between leadership approaches required for technical and adaptive tasks (Heifetz et al., 2009, p.28).
- Introduction to Adaptive Leadership
- Distinction between “technical” problems and “adaptive” challenges
- Resistance to adaptive change
- Holding environment
- Can Adaptive Leadership skills be developed?
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- Adaptive Leadership: Can Adaptive Leadership Skills Be Developed? Part 6 - October 1, 2013
- Adaptive Leadership: “Holding Environment”, Part 5 - September 24, 2013
- Adaptive Leadership: Resistance To Adaptive Change, Part 4 - September 17, 2013
- Adaptive Leadership: Distinction Between “Leadership” and “Authority” – Part 3 - September 10, 2013
- Adaptive Leadership: Distinction Between “Technical” Problems and “Adaptive” Challenges, Part 2 - September 3, 2013