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Ldrs 303 Article Review on the Work of Leadership

Autor:   •  January 14, 2019  •  Essay  •  634 Words (3 Pages)  •  183 Views

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Danqi (Olivia) Lu

Trinity Western University

Contemp & Popular Approach in Lead

LDRS 303

Cynthia Cavanaugh

Assignment-HBR Article Review


In the article, “The Work of Leadership,” Heifetz and Laurie (1997) offer six principles of leading adaptive work. They begin the article by introducing two reasons for the difficulty of adaptive leadership. The first reason is for making the change, which present behavior pattern needs to be broken by executives. However, to face the adaptive challenge, abilities to engage the responsibility and solving problems not only needed by executives but also need from employees. The second factor is people need to confront new things which make them distress. To help the adaptive work, authors give six principles. The principle of “getting on the balcony” means leaders need a view like in the balcony and see the whole picture. The principle of identifying the adaptive challenge means leaders need to adopt new challenge quickly. Regulating distress means manager need to balance the need for change and feel overwhelmed by change. Maintaining disciplined attention means “leader urges people to focus on the tough work they need to do” (Northouse, 2018). Giving the work back to people means employees want to participate in problem-solving but need the guidance of direction and structure from leaders. Protecting voices of leadership from below means leaders need to depend on employees in the enterprise to ask questions that may indicate the future adaptive challenges. At the last part of the article, they illustrate those six principles of KPMG example of adaptive change, which is part of the leading professional-services consulting firms in the world. Although authors have stated their points practically and feasibility, their study does not account for critical views which might affect the precision.

Overall Evaluation

        Built on a thorough reading of the article, Heifetz and Laurie (1997) demonstrate the principles of adaptive leadership with practical and workable methodology, but they do not give the criticisms of adaptive leadership. To illustrating their compelling and useful point of view, Heifetz and Laurie give the successful case from KPMG. In this case, the chairman in 1994, Ruud Koedijk has engaged in an adaptive work successfully by using six principles one step at a time. However, the article not mentions any critical views of adaptive leadership. According to Northouse (2018), adaptive leadership has several weaknesses need to specify. Firstly, adaptive leadership has initially been a serviceable framework for theoretical construction. Secondly, conceptualization of adaptive leadership process is still to be improved. Third, adaptive leadership can be criticized as too broad and abstract. For example, recommended leadership behaviors, such as "returning work to the people", often lack pertinence and clarity of concept. Without a clear conceptualization of recommendation behavior, it is hard to know how to analyze it in research or implement it in practice (p. 187). Therefore, while the article provides practical and workable suggestions to adaptive work, missing the drawback of the theory makes this article inaccurate.


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