Adaptive And Systems Leadership : The Health And Social Care Sector

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ADAPTIVE AND SYSTEMS LEADERSHIP In the health and social care sector, we are operating in increasingly complex systems, especially in the context of the ever-growing pressures on the NHS, the changes in UK demography and the increasingly close alignment with local government and voluntary sectors. The environment is characterized Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity (VUCA) (Welbourn, 2015). A complex system is one in which even knowing everything there is to know about the system is not sufficient to predict precisely what will happen (Welbourn, et al. 2012). In a complex system arguably perhaps the most suited approach to effective leadership is an adaptive one. What is adaptive and systems leadership? This approach entails…show more content…
What is the theory? In adaptive leadership the leader challenges people to face tough problems and learn new ways of dealing with change (Heifetz (1994). Adaptive Vs Technical challenges Adaptive leadership differentiates between: • Technical problems: which are easily defined and can be solved through expert knowledge and skills, with recognized solutions, and • Adaptive problems: which are “fuzzy” problems: difficult to define with solutions that are hard to identify and implement. These are problems where the normal ways of doing things will not work. Heifetz identified three situational types based on the balance of technical and adaptive work required: • Type 1 situations: the problem can be clearly defined, the solution and implementation are clear; (they require technical work) • Type 2 situations: the problem can still be clearly defined but the solution and implementation are not so clear and require learning; (they require a mix of technical and adaptive) • Type 3 situations: the problem is unclear and requires learning, the solution and implementation are unclear and require learning; (they require adaptive work) Six leadership behaviours underpin adaptive leadership: 1. Get on the Balcony – this is a metaphor for stepping out of the arena where all the action is taking place (from the dance floor to the balcony), to a vantage place literally (going somewhere quiet and removed
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