Adaptive leadership is a difficult practice that requires learning, unlearning and relearning. What makes adaptive leadership more complicated is that it entails making decisions on what is so essential that must be preserved going forward and what value can be left behind. Determining what should be kept and what should be left behind requires making hard choices as it involves protecting what is dear to you and letting go of things that you held so dearly. It is a tough process; a moment of clarification which is different from making choices of right and wrong; which is straightforward as you already have the knowledge.
Adaptive challenges are encountered quite often. Acknowledging that you have opted not to exercise leadership because of something that is more important to you is a step towards self-knowledge. Taking responsibility for your choices helps you understand yourself more.
If you want to exercise adaptive leadership more than you have in the past, you will have to make some different choices from those you have made before. You will have to risk whatever commitment or concern that held you back on behalf of something else that you have been saying is more important to you.
Having been imprisoned for opposing Apartheid regime, Nelson Mandela was focused on liberating the people of South Africa from oppression by the whites. He valued this and believed that the freedom of his fellow blacks supersedes his personal freedom.
While in prison, president Botha offered Mandela conditional freedom. Mandela was to denounce opposition to the apartheid government. He was to be released from prison if he accepted this condition. Mandela would then rejoin his family and friends. However, he refused since the freedom that was offered would be short lived and his fellow people would never enjoy the freedom that he was fighting for. He responded through his letter that was read by his daughter questioning the kind of freedom he would enjoy "What freedom am I being offered while the organization of the people remains banned?”
In making hard decisions, one is supposed to focus on the big picture as our life is the sum total of all the decisions, we make every day, decisions are determined by our priorities. We have to know and believe in what we value while creating a necessary environment to learn from self and others.