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We’re Adaptive Leaders, but Geesh…

Updated: Sep 13, 2022

…these times are really testing our skills and we know we are not the only ones. Whether it’s staffing due to COVID or the flu, rising costs or supply issues, there seems to be something that comes across our desk every day that makes us twitch. [Who am I kidding? It doesn’t have time to come across our desk. Instead, it hits you on the screen of your phone the minute you make the mistake of looking down!]

Photo by Mark Stoop on Unsplash

Just as well it’s how we work

Don’t get me wrong. Like lots of social enterprises, using adaptive leadership principles to run our business is second nature. It’s how we tackle complex problems, drawing on the talents of all the people involved in our business or town and finding ways to systematically resolve issues that stop us from achieving our objectives. It’s just that in times like these, we are starting to feel like every problem is a complex problem, and therein lies the fatigue.


We are starting to lose our perspective. Every mistake is disastrous. Every issue is catastrophic. Yet deep down, we know this really isn’t true. Every little problem is still only a little problem, it’s just that currently it is on top of another little problem, and they are starting to pile up. So how do we cut ourselves some slack and be a little kind to ourselves and others?

Start by Standing Down

Seriously. The first thing we can do is stand down. Ease off the adrenaline (your body will thank you!) and stop bracing for the next catastrophe. At BOOM Clunes we’ve gone back to our roots to help us do this.

Adaptive leadership is vital when there is no technical fix to an issue, or established procedure. So, if the problem is a system failure that can be fixed by improving the systems behind the scenes, it’s just a problem, that can be readily fixed once you have the resources, knowledge or energy to do so. If the problem is more complex, and there isn’t a clear way forward, then it warrants flexing your adaptive leadership muscles. Until they’re needed, don’t waste them.

What is Adaptive Leadership?

Harvard Business Review sums it up best. Adaptive leadership is about:

  • Anticipation of likely future needs, trends and options.

  • Articulation of these needs to build collective understanding and support for action.

  • Adaptation so that there is continuous learning and the adjustment of responses as necessary.

  • Accountability, including maximum transparency in decision making processes and openness to challenges and feedback.

Creating a culture to support adaptive leadership at all levels of your business isn’t easy. Finding ways to anticipate what might happen in the world in which we work and live now is trickier than ever before.

At BOOM Clunes we find one of the best ways to do this is to nurture an environment where we talk openly. Amongst ourselves. With our Co-Workers. With the businesses who’s serviced offices are part of this little regional business eco-system we’ve created. That provides us with an opportunity to learn, adjust, and most importantly, put problems into perspective.

Become Part of BOOM Clunes

Who knew, when we launched BOOM Clunes, that the business of running a Co-Working Space would also help us better manage the trials of operating in a tricky environment? Actually, we did and it was part of the reason why we launched the Co-Working space in the first place. Running a business now might be a challenge, but the more minds we have in the building, the more people we encounter each day, the easier it is to tackle whatever type of problem pops up on our phone or across our desk.

So why not join us too and become a Co-Worker at BOOM?

Author: Lana de Kort

Supported by the Community Response Fund, Victorian State Government


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