Job and Career

Got Adaptability?

Published: March 11, 2024

How Well Do You Adapt?

There are countless scenarios that test how well you respond to change. It’s not always a matter of “going with the flow” or being unconditionally flexible. Rather, your capacity to adapt centers on how well you withstand adversity or difficulty. This adversity can be short term or long term; foreseen or unforeseen.

Becoming more adaptable in general has benefits, but doing so at work boosts your professionalism and helps you respond proactively to new situations, roles, projects, clients and co-workers. While adaptability comes easily for some, it may not come naturally to you. Don’t worry! It's a skill you can develop.

Here are four tips to build, refine, and grow your adaptability skills. As you develop this skill for the workplace, you'll be able to face any change that comes your way.

Change Your Thought Process

Do you need to “unlearn” something or break a habit in order to adapt? Maybe you need to let go of the “That’s the way we’ve always done it” mentality. While change can be scary and intimidating, embrace it and look at it as an opportunity to improve, learn, and grow. In the workplace, it means being open to the thoughts and opinions of others. Considering different perspectives can open the door to creativity.

Force Yourself To Take Risks

For some, the idea of risk is so unpleasant that they run from it as fast as they can. Look at it this way: The opposite of risk is security or a comfort zone. Sometimes, when you look at the opposite of something, you see it from a different angle and embracing it may become easier. In this case, taking risks is key to being more adaptable because you’re forced to take action strategically instead of being impulsive. Start small: To increase your comfort, discuss risk-taking during team meetings, which can serve as a system of support. Remember, little progress is made without risk or a change in routine.

Embrace Learning

Are you a curious person? People who are curious and stay current with work trends, community news, etc., tend to be adaptable. Their minds are open to accept information, and they process it in a way that allows them to react after thinking first.

As you continue to learn to adapt your behavior to various circumstances, you’ll note that you possess an important characteristic that supports adaptability: versatility. During times of adversity, your versatility helps you make adjustments that allow you to transform challenges into opportunities.

Take Action

Take some time to assess your current adaptability skills. If they're not where you want to be, take steps to train yourself to become more adaptable. One way to do this is to simply record in a journal how you respond to an event and what you did to adjust to the situation. Note any barriers that hold you back from adapting. With time and practice, you'll develop the skills to adapt to any situation with confidence, compassion and professionalism.

Additional Help is Available

If new challenges bring you fear or anxiety, Best Care EAP counselors are available to provide support and guidance. To schedule a confidential appointment, fill out the Counseling Registration Form. If you have issues with the form, please call our office at (402) 354-8000 or (800) 801-4182 and we'll be glad to help.  

More Resources for You

Best Care EAP's website offers a variety of resources that can help boost adaptability and encourage action, like this short webinar on overcoming procrastination. You can also find a variety of articles in our Resource Hub to support your overall well-being.