Published on

Synthesis of Ronald Hefeitz's adaptive leadership approach, as developed in the Social Development Institute of the IDB.

Published in: Business, Education
  • Thanks I needed this as a guide.
    Are you sure you want to  Yes  No
    Your message goes here
  • What a great set of slides. Thank you Manuel!
    Are you sure you want to  Yes  No
    Your message goes here
No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide


  1. 1. Leadership Manuel E. Contreras Social Development Institute Inter-American Development Bank June, 2005
  2. 2. “Leadership is one of the most observed and least understood phenomena on earth” James MacGregor Burns (1978)
  3. 3. Heroic vs. post heroic leadership (Bradford & Cohen, 1998) Post-Heroic Leadership Heroic Leadership New framework: Traditional framework: Everyone is responsible Leader is responsible Tangible Direction vision Shared Leader an d Management Leader responsibility members Group creates create team Mutual Downward influence influence
  4. 4. Authority (Heifetz, 1994) Conferred power to perform a service 1. Authority is given and can be taken away 2. Authority is conferred as part of an exchange
  5. 5. Formal and Informal Authority Formal Authority: comes with various powers of the office and it is granted because the office holder promises to meet a set of explicit expectations (job descriptions, legislated mandates, etc.). Informal Authority: rests on trust and comes with “the power to influence attitude or behavior beyond compliance.” Trust: Predictability on values and skills. (Heifetz, 1994)
  6. 6. SOURCES OF POSITIONAL POWER Importance and Formal Formal authority relevance of Relevance Authority the position Centrality Autonomy Visibility SOURCES OF PERSONAL Credibility POWER Informal Trust Expertise Authority Respect Track record Attractiveness Admiration Effort Adapted from Hill (1994)
  7. 7. Authority Social functions of authority: Direction and sense of purpose Protection Order: Roles and responsibilities Conflict resolution mechanism and cohesion Norms (Heifetz, 1994)
  8. 8. Adaptive Leadership Mobilize people to face their problems and their painful decisions so that they learn new ways of being. Mobilization implies to motivate, organize, orient and focus attention. (Heifetz, 1994)
  9. 9. Adaptive Leadership The final objective of leadership is to confront difficult problems that require the clarification of values and the generation of progress. The measurement of leadership is the progress in the solution of problems. Communities achieve this progress because people who exercise leadership challenge them and help them in the process. There is a joint responsibility. (Heifetz, 1994)
  10. 10. Technical Problems “The necessarry knowledge about them already has been digested and put in the form of a legitimized set of known organizational procedures guiding what to do and role authorizations guiding who should do it.” (Heifetz, 1994)
  11. 11. Adaptative Problem No adequate response has yet been developed. They require learning to overcome the conflicts in values, or reduce the gap between the espoused values and reality. They require changes in values, attitudes or habits of behavior. (Heifetz, 1994)
  12. 12. Distinguishing Technical from Adaptive Challenges What’s the Who does Work? the work? Technical Apply current Authorities know-how Adaptive Learn new The people ways with the problem (Heifetz and Linsky, 2002)
  13. 13. Technical and Adaptive Problems When we face an adaptive problem and we treat it as technical one and we turn to authority figures to produce technical solutions we develop inadequate dependencies (maladaptive behavior). (Heifetz, 1994)
  14. 14. Disequilibrium and work evasion To exercise leadership one must overcome the work evasion mechanisms and help people learn despite their resistance. Leadership requires that one regulate the level of stress and the pace of learning at a rhythm within a range that people can tolerate. (Heifetz, 1994)
  15. 15. Common mechanisms of work avoidance Hold on to the past. Blame the authority figures. Find a scapegoat. Deny the problem. Draw conclusions too quickly. Use a distraction. (Heifetz, 1994)
  16. 16. How to control the heat Lower the temperature Raise the temperature Address the technical Draw attention to tough aspects of the problem questions Establish a structure for the Give people more problem-solving process Temporarily reclaim responsibility than they responsibility for tough are comfortable with issues Bring conflict to the Employ work avoidance mechanisms surface Slow down the process of Protect dissenting challenging norms and voices expectations (Heifetz and Linsky, 2002)
  17. 17. Leadership with authority
  18. 18. Authority as a resource Managing the holding environment 1. Directing attention 2. Testing reality 3. Managing information and framing 4. issues Orchestrating conflicting perspectives 5. Choosing the decision making process 6. (Heifetz, 1994)
  19. 19. Strategic principles 1. Get on the balcony. 2. Identify the adaptive challenge. 3. Regulate distress. 4. Maintain disciplined attention and prevent work avoidance. 5. Give the work back to the people. 6. Protect leadership from below. (Heifetz, 1994)
  20. 20. Get on the balcony Leadership is both active and reflective. One must alternate between participating and observing. Take perspective Develop capacity to distinguish the patterns Don’t be swept away by the music! (Heifetz, 1994)
  21. 21. Identify the adaptive challenge Is it a technical or adaptive problem? Readjustments on basic routines or new ways to proceed? What are the values, beliefs or attitudes that need to change? What sacrifices must be made and by whom? (Heifetz, 1994)
  22. 22. Regulate distress Balance between tension necessary for change and being overwhelmed by change Holding environment Orchestrate the sequence and rate of change Modified social function of authority (Heifetz, 1994)
  23. 23. Adaptive Work Calls for Leadership (Or walking on the razor’s edge) razor’s (Heifetz and Laurie, 1998) (Heifetz and Laurie, 1998) Responsibilities Situation Technical or Routine Adaptive Direction Authority defines problems Authority identifies the and solutions adaptive challenges, frames key questions, issues and solutions. Protection Authority shields the Authority lets the organization from external organization feel external threats pressure within a range it can stand Orientation Authority clarifies roles Authority disorients and responsibilities current roles or resists pressure to orient people in new roles prematurely Controlling Conflict Authority restores order Authority exposes conflict or lets it emerge Shaping Norms Authority maintains norms Authority challenges unproductive norms or allows them to be challenged
  24. 24. Regulate distress Poise and tolerance: Control change Emotional capacity to tolerate uncertainty, frustration and pain (Heifetz, 1994)
  25. 25. Maintain disciplined attention Allow people to face difficult alternatives in terms of values, procedures, operating styles and power Uncover conflicts to use them as sources of creativity Limit work avoidance (Heifetz, 1994)
  26. 26. Giving the work back to the people Achieve that people assume greater responsibilities Develop the collective trust in oneself (Heifetz, 1994)
  27. 27. Protecting leadership from below For organizations to learn, everybody must be able to express their opinion These opinions can create disequilibrium--one must resist the temptation to quiet them to restore equilibrium. (Heifetz, 1994)
  28. 28. Protecting leadership from below Protect those who put the internal contradictions of the organization on the table What are they really talking about? Is there something we are missing? (Heifetz, 1994)
  29. 29. Losing balance Authority limits the exercise of leadership because in times of disequilibrium and distress people expect too much and develop inadequate dependencies. Whoever puts forward delicate issues runs the risk of being sacrificed. It is in periods of disequilibrium that there is a greater urgency to find answers, and the need for leadership from those in authority is even greater. (Heifetz, 1994)
  30. 30. Losing balance If authority figures reinforce that dependency and fool themselves thinking they have answers that they do not have, they are not complying well with their role. They will give technical solutions to adaptive problems that will generate work avoidance and hamper progress. (Heifetz, 1994)
  31. 31. Management vs. Leadership
  32. 32. Management and Leadership according to Kotter (1998) Management Leadership • Coping with complexity • Coping with change: Promotion and mangmt. • Planning and budgeting • Setting a direction: vision and strategies for achieving it • Organizing and staffing • Aligning people: communicating vision • Controlling and problem • Motivating and inspiring solving
  33. 33. Ronald Heifetz’s reply: Heifetz’s “In short, the prevailing notion that leadership consists of having a vision and aligning people with that vision is bankrupt because it continues to treat adaptive situations as if they were technical: the authority figure is supposed to divine where the company is going, and people are supposed to follow. Leadership is reduced to a combination of grand knowing and salesmanship.” (Heifetz and Laurie, 1998)
  34. 34. Staying alive Self-knowledge and self-discipline form the foundations for staying alive. Heifetz and Linsky, 2002
  35. 35. Assassination Leadership is dangerous because the stresses of adaptive work can be severe. People exercising authority are always failing somebody. Persons exercising leadership and authority figures get attacked, dismissed, silenced and sometimes assassinated because they come to represent loss, real or imagined, of the members of the community as a result of adaptive work. (Heifetz, 1994)
  36. 36. The temptation for martyrdom “Exercising leadership, people often are drawn to taking courageous stands. Indeed, leadership may require willingness to die. Sometimes, however, people confuse courage with the temptation of martyrdom.” “Martyrdom does not arise from the nature of the martyr’s person or acts alone. It derives from the meaning people give to him/her and his/her acts. Martyrdom is a role created by the community.” (Heifetz, 1994)
  37. 37. The temptation for martyrdom “ … Martyrdom is a role reserved for charismatic authorities who are assassinated in the service of their cause.” (Heifetz, 1994)
  38. 38. Charisma We attribute charisma to those that express our pain and give us hope, and we don't understand that the source of their charisma is our own longing. Charisma derives not only from the attitudes of those people and their devotion to the cause, but also from the fact that the community has invested power and hope in them. (Heifetz, 1994)
  39. 39. Personal challenge Internal discipline to contain the personal tensions that leadership causes. The role/self distinction. Partners: confidants and allies. Listening: Using oneself as data. Finding a Sanctuary. Preserving a sense of purpose “the capacity to find the values that make risk- taking meaningful.” (Heifetz, 1994)
  40. 40. Final reflections The exercise of leadership is a voluntary activity. Thus, it’s a time bound intervention: its episodic. It is oriented by the task of carrying out adaptive work. It implies asking questions more than providing answers.
  41. 41. Final reflections (cont.) (cont.) It requires good questions and the willingness to sustain uncertainty. The heart of the strategy is to center people’s attention in complex and difficult issues instead of in distractions. In light of the above, one can exercise leadership form any position. Its development requires a learning strategy.
  42. 42. quot;The true journey of discovery does not consist in searching for new territories but in having new eyes.” Marcel Proust
  43. 43. Bibliography Bradford, D.I. and A.R. Cohen (1998 ) Power up: Transforming Organizations Through Shared Leadership. New York: John Wiley &Sons. Heifetz, Ronald A. (1994) Leadership without easy answers. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Heifetz, R.A. and D.L. Laurie (1998). “The work of leadership.” Harvard Business Review on Leadership. Cambridge: Harvard Business School Press. Heifetz, R. A. and M. Linsky (2002) Leadership on the line. Staying alive through the dangers of leading. Boston: Harvard Business School Press. Hill, L. (1994). “Power Dynamics in Organizations.” Note HBB No. 494-083. Harvard Business School. Kotter, J.P. (1998) “What leaders really do.” Harvard Business Review on Leadership. Cambridge: Harvard Business School Press. MacGregor Burns, J. (1978) Leadership. New York: Harper & Row.