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Leadership Mindset: Adapting Amidst Ambiguity

Every leader possesses a particular mindset. That mindset—what and how leaders think and feel about their role, their people, their goals—drives what they say and do. Leaders can’t just be told what to do—“now it’s time to adapt and collaborate!”—or merely instructed to adopt or change any other fundamental behaviors. Such directed behavior changes might last for a while, until people forget and their underlying mindsets retake the reins. Sustained behavior change requires sustained mindset shift.

Vantage Partners has worked with thousands of leaders from multiple industries across the globe. We have observed four fundamental mindset shifts that leaders must make to move from a traditional leader to an adaptive, collaborative leader.

Hallmarks of adaptive, collaborative leaders include curiosity, creativity, clear intentions, and a relentless focus on solving problems—whether it’s in relation to people, partnership, process, or business challenges. In action, adaptive leaders eagerly pursue shared accountability—and clarity of roles and responsibilities—to drive measurable and reliable impact. A culture of adaptive, collaborative leadership reinforces itself. It brings together good-willed, hard-working, frank-yet-generous, conversation-having individuals, teams and leaders who motivate and inspire each other to perform at their highest potential.

Four Mindset Shifts that Are Foundational to Adaptive Leadership

Traditional mindset

Adaptive mindset

  • Leaders are certain

  • Conflict is a liability

  • Punish or tolerate failure

  • Feedback is one-way

  • Leaders are curious

  • Conflict is an asset

  • Failure is a practice

  • Feedback is two-way


To learn more about Vantage’s leadership development experience, connect with a member of our team.

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You can also visit our Leadership Development overview page.

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