by Biljana Ognenova

Adaptability is the capacity to react appropriately to changing circumstances. If you have adaptability skills, you can modify your attitude or adjust your behavior to different situations and different people. 

Adaptability Skills and Adaptability as a Trait

If you include adaptability as a soft skill on our resume, you show that you can embrace innovation, quickly respond to industry trends, and handle destabilizing scenarios with confidence. Certain people have an inherent ability to be more adaptable; they were lucky to be born with this trait. Change comes naturally to them. 

For example, managing an office day-to-day requires a highly flexible attitude. There is no way to handle all the curveballs an office environment throws at you successfully if you aren’t willing to shift your approach or deal with people in resourceful ways.

However, there is no need to panic if you lack this virtue: you can train your adaptability skills. Before we dig deeper into how to become more conformable, let’s find out more about the importance of adaptability skills in the workplace. 

Why is Adaptability an Important Skill?

Adaptability is a critical strength for business leadership. It is also crucial for managing high-performing teams

When hiring new employees, recruiters are interested in adaptability as a competency. To rank high on the adaptability competency, you need to show that you can reach your goals through various trajectories. You don’t quit when facing obstacles; you innovate to circumvent them and try a new approach. 

Hopefully, it is more apparent now how important it is to develop your adaptability skills to thrive in the rocky world of running a digital business. 

Are you interested in broadening your leadership skills? Read an inspiring story about successfully managing remote agile teams.

An Example of Adaptability Competency

To be adaptable is desirable because it shows a richness of character and an evolving mindset. Such a mental attitude will help you:

  • Easily switch between tasks.
  • Handle multiple demands thrown at you.
  • Find the right people for the right job.
  • Work in an office, from home, or when traveling the world.
  • Maintain energy and pace when things get rough.

Therefore, developing adaptability starts with a mindset shift. Openness to new ideas and changing strategies are two essential elements of an adaptable character. 

It is next to impossible to work ardently unless you gather and incorporate feedback from the environment. Handling the short feedback loops in agile methodology is a prime example of adaptability competency. In an agile team, projects will fail unless you are highly attuned to the environment and you act promptly upon every stakeholders’ feedback.    

How to Demonstrate Adaptability in the Workplace?

To show that you are open to change, you have to handle a certain level of discomfort. When things run smoothly, it is easy to be a great team player and even a better leader. But when it’s not business as usual, your adaptability skills must shine. Having an open mindset won’t be enough. You’ll have to demonstrate that you possess adaptability skills through your behavior.

Examples of behavioral indicators that show you are an adaptable employee include:  

  • Find ways to adopt changes that work rather than focusing on changes that fail.
  • Implement new ways of working quickly and easily.
  • Make suggestions about how to implement change.
  • Adjust strategy to changes in the situation.
  • Present willingness to learn new methods, techniques, and procedures.
  • Prioritize according to the needs of the case.
  • Retain a can-do attitude when facing setbacks.

If you find yourself high on the scale of each of these actions, you are most likely an adaptable person. However, experience shows that you can never be too prepared – everything we do has to do with “life”. Excellent adaptability in the workplace will help you set an example for your team. Furthermore, it will allow you to navigate across shifting career priorities and change is bound to happen. 

How to Become Adaptable at Work

Adaptability skills incorporate learning and taking risks. In other words, you have to be ready to frequently leave your comfort zone. Here are five ways to help you become more adaptable in life and at work:

1. Develop in interdisciplinary areas. 

Lifelong learning is nothing new. In a technologically disruptive world, there is no other way to grow in business. However, learning additional skills that go out of your usual training scope is a bonus. For example, a recruiter can get an extra perk on your resume if they can show they are highly skilled in technical recruitment and know how to assemble a software development team. 

Another example is software specializations. With so many new software development tools on the market, becoming an expert on Shopify, for example, will help you reach out to hundreds of potential new clients who are looking for a lucrative web platform.

Have an exciting new idea about selling online? Let us help you create your dream team and generate substantial revenue with e-commerce.

2. Become a risk-taker.

It is impossible to make any kind of progress without taking risks. Think about it: if you remain stuck in the same place, you will be comfortable. But at the same time, you won’t grow. Forcing yourself to take risks is among the most desired adaptability skills you can have because risks create new opportunities. Creating new opportunities, such as identifying potential in emerging trends, is the essence of business growth. 

3. Build resilience.

Sometimes, new situations and new people will inevitably test you. Experimenting, learning, and taking risks may end up in rejection and failure. Therefore, one of the vital adaptability skills you can have is the capacity to quickly bounce back from adverse outcomes. 

To deal with disappointment and failure, you need to:

  • Develop your coping skills via emotional self-regulation. Simply put, welcome your emotions.
  • Practice healthy habits to deal with stress. This means no late-night pizza and burgers!
  • Accept responsibility for the wrong actions that led to the failure. Learn the lesson — what went wrong? How could you have overturned the outcome?
  • Get inspired by famous failure stories. Even Jeff Bezos and Ariana Huffington had it hard at specific points in their careers.
  • Create a plan for moving forward. Adaptability at its best showcases at the moment you choose a new path to move on from failed projects.   

Furthermore, by making time in your daily schedules, you can strengthen adaptability through these practices to impress your clients.

4. Accept that adaptability is a team effort.

We don’t live in a vacuum. Even if you work by yourself at home, you are still a part of an office. Your clients and teammates play a crucial role in how adaptable you become under trying circumstances. Clients will shift priorities. People will leave. Understand what your part is within the team and take accountability for your actions. You can’t change everyone else. However, you can change yourself.

In fact, the people you surround yourself with will be the greatest challenge to your adaptability since they come from very different places. Understanding the difference between what you can (your thoughts and actions) and what you can not control (other people’s thoughts and actions) is crucial to becoming a great leader and an inspiring colleague.

Are you looking to rewrite your business rulebook with new talent? We can help you build a winning team for your next project. 

5. Deliberately practice adaptability skills.

You can always undertake formal adaptability training. But short courses are usually limited in their effectiveness and more appropriate for hard skills. Soft skills often require deliberate practice.

You can tweak your adaptability with exercises, including individual and team exercises with the following activities:

  1. Analyze and share insights about the difference in perspective and opinions about situations.
  2. Acknowledge the possibility of other perspectives and ask questions to better understand the difference.
  3. Think about your ingrained habits. Do you always go out to the same place? Do you use the same project management apps? Are you stuck in the same process workflow?
  4. Question the expectations you have from people. Often, things do not turn out as expected. Distinguish between expectations and clearly defined project outcomes. Increase clarity by being bold and transparent in communication.
  5. Write down an honest list of your own limiting beliefs and attitudes set in stone. How your fixed mindset limits your adaptability skills?

As long as you are willing to work on these limitations, you won’t lack opportunities in your career and business. By reflecting on a stale mindset, changing actions, and modifying courses, you are a visible representation of adaptability skills in the workplace. 

Adaptable employees make flexibility work like a charm and can handle challenges that arise out of the blue. If you want a dedicated team for your business, contact us today.

Free IT consultation