Today's public and private business leaders and leaders of our Armed Forces are faced with challenges that require leadership that is capable of tackling and solving complex problems and issues, with collective, collaborative, timely effective, and innovative solutions. This set of challenges requires leadership that spans the spectrum of leadership theories, traits, and stylistic approaches that is very adaptive, yet direct in nature. This type of leadership is defined as 'adaptive leadership' and is a style of leadership that is developing into a new theory of its own, evolving from situational, transformational, contingency, and complexity theories, as described by Nastanski, (2002), being further refined by leadership theorists such as Heifetz (2004), Yukl and Lepsinger (2006), and Bennis (2003), who are pioneering adaptive leadership approaches into the practicality of today's workplace. "Adaptive Leadership: Leadership Theory or Theoretical Derivative" analyzes, synthesizes, and evaluates the legitimacy of Adaptive leadership as a leadership theory and provides conclusive evidence of whether or not adaptive leadership is a leadership theory or simply a theoretical derivative from other leadership theories such as situational, transactional, transformational, contingency, or complexity theories. The analysis compares and contrasts the definition of adaptive leadership, identifying why it is being considered a theory of its own, analyzes what is being done in the field to validate theory legitimacy, and synthesizes determinants to provide conclusions on the legitimacy of adaptive leadership as a leadership theory.
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