Overcoming obstacles that arise because of change is something that we have all had plenty of practice with in 2020. It will come as no surprise that being an adaptable member of your team is now a highly sought after ‘skill’ in the workplace. So what exactly is adaptability anyway? How do we showcase it? The key to adaptability is being able to handle change, and handle it well. Think resilience… It’s all about being that person that bounces back with a smile and a plan ‘B’, when things might not go exactly as planned.
Though if we’re being completely honest with ourselves, we all go through different thought processes when change arises. We don’t all love change, and that’s OK. Some of us flourish; some of us thrive on a challenge, a change of course or the pressure being ramped up in the workplace. Whilst the other half of us grimace at change, much more comfortable with the familiar rather than battling the unknown. Let’s face facts: the enthusiastic, adaptable member of your team will survive today’s working world with far more ease, and which personality would you rather have on your team? Having the unknown thrown your way and being able to work with it shows your employer and your team mates that you can respond positively to change, and that’s impressive. It’s time to find your inner adaptable self and handle that curveball with style and grace… and with a few key pointers, we’re going to show you how. With these tactics, you’ll slowly find yourself less fearful of change and the phrase ‘when life gives you lemons…’ might just become your motto!
Respond positively to change
Embracing change may not come as natural, so instead look to those within your team who do handle change with ease and study their approach. Analyse their thought process and how they put this into action and compare it to your own. If they handle a problem differently to you, how do they handle it? Ask more questions and try to understand their pattern of thought and use this way of thinking and positive approach to handle your next challenge. We grow from learning and looking to others who work well and adopting their methods is nothing to shy away from. There are most likely assets you bring to the table that others admire, so do take direction from people who are resilient. Try your best to be receptive to new ideas and rather than resisting change – embrace it and try and tackle it calmly. Being adaptive is about demonstrating that you can deal with a problem – if the problem seems too complex, why not break it down and tackle it piece by piece?
Work towards the same objective
Clear communication as a team is absolute key here – everyone in the team needs to know what is expected of them in order to give them the best shot of performing well. When unexpected obstacles arise the best way of working through them well is by working through them together to achieve one common objective. The team must understand the objective they are working towards, so any plan of action can be adapted in order to get the same end result – the common objective or goal. Organisation is a great tool here – think task lists, morning team meetings – the clearer idea everyone has of what their individual priority should be that particular day, the smoother the day should run.
Encourage new ways of working
Try to avoid a narrow minded view on any problem: ‘we’ve always dealt with it this way and it’s the way we do things around here’ and embrace different ideas. The whole concept of teamwork is having a diverse group of personalities with different strengths you can play on, almost like a tool kit. If you are reaching for the same tool or solution every time, it doesn’t scream ‘adaptability’. Pay close attention to suggestions from all team members and avoid advocating group thinking or encouraging old habits and ways of doing things because it seems easier. A new problem likely needs a new solution. Be open to everyone’s opinion and really listen to it before dismissing it – try and find value in each individual’s contribution. Being open to new ways of working and new trains of thought may just bring about an idea that the team may not otherwise have considered.
Encouraging your team (and of course yourself) to continuously improve their skillset will undoubtedly be useful in times of change. Have you ever noticed that attending training sessions and courses often leave the team feeling empowered, inspired and reminds you to gently to look at things from a completely different perspective now and again? Refreshing your skillset in such a way can surely only have a positive outcome so do push your workplace to provide more training opportunities, or say ‘yes’ the next time such an opportunity is offered to you. Volunteering yourself may mean you need to experience new things and push yourself out of your comfort zone but that’s OK… that’s being adaptable! Updating your skills is always justifiable – knowledge is power and people that continuously improve themselves are far more adaptable in times of change.
Encouraging your team to pool together and inspire one another to find new solutions to problems which arise at times of change is a guaranteed way to demonstrate your adaptability. Coming together regularly as a team encourages you to support one another, keeps communication lines open and makes room for discussions surrounding new ideas. Suggest regular team meetings where everyone has the opportunity to discuss successes, not just moan about problems. This way, the next time an ‘adaptable’ character handles a new problem with total success, those less confident in tackling change can take note (literally) ask questions and hopefully develop new skills. Hearing others explain how they tackled an issue successfully could prove motivational to all members of the team and help diminish any fear that comes with facing change.