Everything you need to know about an Adapter

The Adapter leader

Adapters have a relatively even balance of behavioral drives. So how exactly do they lead their teams to victory?

As leaders, Adapters will transform their style to meet the current needs of the team. Because there’s no predominant drive that fuels their needs or behaviors, one adapter’s management style might look completely different from another. However, Adapters are often empathetic leaders and will mold their style for what best suits their team.

Below is a list of strengths and cautions when an Adapter is in a management role.

Leading strengths
  • Versatile
  • Empathetic
  • Bridge-builder
Leading cautions
  • May struggle with delegation
  • May be difficult to “read”

But it’s not just about knowing how you lead; you also should be aware of the individuals you manage and the Team Type they form. This allows you to tailor your leadership strategies based on the people you’re actually managing—and use your strengths as an Adapter to your advantage.

Let’s say you’re an Adapter who’s managing a Stabilizing Team. Being an Adapter there is a chance you might be in the quadrant directly opposite of this team, like the example picture to the right, which means you’ll generally have competing values. Don’t panic! Different personalities don’t innately lead to failure. Understanding this difference in opinions, however, is a crucial step.

Take a look below at some points of friction to be aware of. Use these to learn how you can use your strengths to lead a team that doesn’t directly align with your Reference Profile.

Leading a Stabilizing Team as an Adapter

When an Adapter is leading a Stabilizing Team, they may struggle to adapt to the team’s structured nature. You may encounter areas of friction, but there are ways you can help your people stretch their behavioral drives and make the team feel like magic.



The Stabilizing Team’s preference for predictability and structure may clash with those Adapters who prefer more flexibility. The leader may become frustrated that the team is not taking the risks necessary to complete their goals.

An Adapter’s flexible nature can clash with the Stabilizing Team’s desire to have a step by step plan in place. It can be frustrating for team members if they feel they’re not being given clear enough directions at the beginning when an adapter may still be learning how to complement the team.

Adapter can often be hard to “read” and intentions can be misinterpreted. Yet Stabilizing Teams are experts at creating a plan and sticking to it. Those formal guidelines and processes will help alleviate any concerns of perceived surprises in an Adapter’s actions. 

Stabilizing Teams may find themselves creating artificial roadblocks with processes. Yet Adapters are often great at proving perspective since they’re not motivated too highly by any one factor. An Adapter can help Stabilizing Teams become more aware of the processes that are necessary and what might be a hindrance. 

Based on the benefits and areas of friction that can arise when having a differently aligned team, come up with strategies that will help you lean into your strengths. For example, Your team may shy away from conflict, which can have long-term detrimental effects. As an adapter, you can help bridge any gaps by acting as a mediator between members and defining conflict resolution practices to stop small concerns before they become major problems.

So, we understand who we are, where we fit into a team, and how we can lead other teams as an Adapter. When it comes to leading, though, there is much more to consider. You also need to think about what Strategy Type your team needs to accomplish its goals.

Do you feel prepared to make sure your team feels like magic rather than causing constant friction? Want to learn more? Check out our two workshops around building and cultivating teams that work like a dream.

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