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Adaptive Leadership

The Covid-19 pandemic is constantly evolving, with leaders facing unpredictability, imperfect information, multiple unknowns, and the need to identify responses quickly — all while recognizing the multi-dimensional (health-related, economic, social, political, cultural) nature of the crisis. Responding to the crisis requires adaptive leadership, which involves what we refer to as the 4 A’s:

  • 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.

There are five common principles to guide this kind of adaptive leadership across the Covid-19 response. These five principles are not just vital to guide our immediate responses but are also vital for shaping longer-term recovery and resilience plans.

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