The Togo striker made his first league start of the season after being frozen out by former manager Andre Villas-Boas, who was sacked on Monday following a 5-0 thrashing by Liverpool, and repaid Sherwood's faith by scoring in each half.
Having netted a fine volley in Wednesday's League Cup loss to West Ham United, Sherwood's first match in charge, the controversial striker scored another impressive first-time effort following Roberto Soldado's accurate cross, and followed that up with the winner just after the hour mark.
Sherwood named an adventurous line-up as he looked to shrug off Tottenham's attacking malaise this season, partnering former Arsenal and Manchester City man Adebayor with Spaniard Soldado up front for the first time.
The gamble paid off as Spurs moved up to seventh with 30 points, six ahead of ninth-placed Southampton, and Adebayor did not hide his delight at his change of fortunes following his man of the match effort.
"I am very happy for the new manager," he told reporters.
"First day he told me 'Emmanuel I know you, get out there and play football. I will not tell you anything, you know how to do it because of the clubs you have played for'.
"To me that is a big compliment, a new manager telling me that," he added.
Adebayor impressed two seasons ago when he joined Spurs on loan from City, but only managed five goals in 18 league starts when he joined on a permanent basis last term, a campaign that was disrupted by his late decision to join his national team at the African Nations Cup in early 2013.
After being granted compassionate leave by the club following the death of his brother before the start of the season, Villas-Boas forced him to train with the youth team on his return and he had played just one half in the league before Sunday.
"I have been working very hard. I want to thank all my team mates, they have been there for me," said Adebayor.
"All 2013 has been very tough. My brother passed away, it was emotionally difficult. Everything I did today is for him and his son. My father told me to always work hard and that paid off today."
Sherwood said he had no qualms about returning Adebayor to the first-team despite his lack of match-action.
"Adebayor has not been playing, so he did not require much motivating," he told Sky Sport.
"You put him back in because of what he has done in history."