5 Ways to Amplify Your Adaptability Skills at Work

June 18, 2021
4 Min Read
Photo by
Rachel Frankel

Key takeaways

  • Adaptability means being able to adjust or change your environment to be successful.
  • Adaptability is comprised of other soft skills like communication, resilience, and listening.
  • One way to become adaptive is by finding the silver lining in any work situation.
  • See more stories on Matter's blog.

As humans, it’s natural that we grow and evolve. We’re hardly ever static. Everything in our path is subject to change...even work. When conquering the workday, adaptability is one of those skills that help you take on challenges head-on and grow professionally as you flourish in your career.

What are adaptability skills?

Adaptability means being able to adjust or change your environment to be successful. In the workplace, that means being flexible to changing work plans. For example, if there’s an internal restructuring or redirection on a team project -- that’s where adaptability comes in. 

Not to mention, adaptability is one of those skills that you want to have under your belt. Adaptability is categorized as a soft skill. Many organizations look for people who can work seamlessly, make sound decisions, and respond appropriately with immediate change.

Skills that contribute to adaptability 

So, what makes someone adaptable? Well, the truth is that honing these skills requires the help of other soft skills. If you want to become a quick learner who can respond to change in any circumstance, then try practicing these skills: 

How to expand your adaptability skills 

In a 2017 TED Talk, speaker Jennifer Jones stated, “We’re losing the ability to adapt because we’re not taking the time and attention to prepare and develop ourselves. We’re jumping from change to change, acting on impulse, not acting on strategy.” With that being said, here are five simple yet effective ways to boost your adaptability skills at work.

Be aware of changes in your environment

Part of adaptability is keeping an eye out for what’s happening in your environment. Whether it’s big or small changes in your daily routine, be cognizant of your surroundings. To keep track of company and team updates through weekly standups, one-on-one meetings, or internal emails. Sometimes you see change coming and sometimes it hits you like a ton of bricks. 

Develop a growth mindset

Adaptability isn’t a skill that’s developed overnight. It takes practice and the willingness to learn new things, aka having a growth mindset. Mistakes will happen, but it’s vital to welcome challenges and find opportunities to grow. Your outlook and attitude play a major role when it comes to accepting change. When you keep that motivation and positivity going, it’ll influence others to adopt as well. 

Ask for feedback

How are you supposed to boost your adaptability skills without any feedback? That means seeking feedback from your peers and leadership during times of change. And along with feedback, become more adaptive is asking questions to expand your knowledge. Remember, the most adaptable folks are the ones who ask and give feedback continuously throughout their careers. 

Search for the silver lining

Roadblocks and challenges at work suck. However, it doesn’t have to be like that. Part of being an adaptive individual is learning to acknowledging the difficulties and accepting them. And taking it a step further, finding the growth opportunities will only prepare you to adapt to those circumstances. Transitions are inevitable, no doubt there. But, when you take steps to recognize and flip the bad to the good, it’ll make for a smoother journey. 

Step out of your comfort zone

Like we said, sometimes change is unpredictable. However, there are times you can push yourself towards change. That means when change is lurking around the corner, be proactive in seeking out positive change for yourself. Try to find opportunities to place yourself in new situations, so the next time unique challenges pop up, you’ll feel more comfortable diving in. 

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