An increasing number of initiatives for adaptation to climate change are occurring at multiple scales and decision focuses (e.g., impact assessment, policy design, technology development, planning management and implementation of adaptation measures etc.) but concrete action is lagging. The complex problems (characterized by deep uncertainties, multiple interests and knowledge references) as well as correspondent solutions of many adaptation initiatives are often addressed through technical analysis (e.g., observed and foreseen impacts of climate change) and a limited consideration of the importance of adopting an adequate leadership styles. Increasingly, authors and practitioners consider that for moving the adaptation agenda forward, leadership should be adapted to the socio-institutional context and informed by behavioral and process-design aspects. We find that different leadership styles might be needed to mobilize social action from one phase of the adaptation cycle to another.