Adaptive managers have a variety of roles to fill. Learn how managing adaptive workers is different, and about some of the key elements in the adaptive manager’s toolkit.
- Adaptive workers don't usually appear on their own. They often need adaptive managers who can help them to respond to constant change. An adaptive manager has a variety of roles to fill depending upon the specific needs of the workers on their team. So, first, an adaptive manager needs to be an adaptive project manager, leading the team to focus on the goals and deliverables of the group. But an adaptive manager isn't a micromanager. They focus on what needs to be done and why it needs to be done and far less on how the steps are to be performed.
An adaptive manager needs to be both coach and career counselor. By making a priority of the worker's career aspirations and developmental needs, the adaptive manager gets the best out of workers, because the goals of the worker, the team, and the organization all become better aligned. An adaptive manager is also a mentor and an advisor. Once a manager knows the worker's goals and aspirations, they can help guide the worker to develop the skillset necessary to attain their potential.
Finally, an adaptive manager is a change agent, a champion of innovation and of challenging the status quo, encouraging workers to constantly look for new ways to meet the needs of the organization's stakeholders. Now, to perform at each of these roles, an adaptive manager needs a particular skill set to be effective. Think of these skills as the toolkit that a manager can pull from, depending upon the specific help that adaptive workers need. Many of these skills fall into the category of self-management.
For example, adaptive managers need a high level of self-control. The structured management processes of the past aren't useful when supporting the work of adaptive workers. Though it's tempting for managers to give workers the answers to the problems they're trying to solve, adaptive managers need to create an environment where workers are empowered to figure out their own solutions. Now, that can take a considerable amount of patience on the part of the manager. There are several other important skills in the adaptive manager's toolkit, such as consultative problem solving and conflict management.
So, how well-developed are your adaptive management skills? Check out the Self-Inventory Worksheet in the Exercise Files. Even if you find that several of your adaptive management skills need significant improvement, it's important to see this as an opportunity for growth.
- Characteristics of adaptive workers
- How to be an adaptive manager
- Honing self-management skills
- Developing proactive workers
- Importance of goals in adaptive work
- Developing and supporting remote workers
- Empowering adaptive workers to solve problems
- Collaboration and adaptive teams