Adaptability and Flexibility

Adaptability. The ability to change (or be changed) to fit changed circumstances.

Otherwise known as the key to success at work!

Being adaptable is a timelessly important skill, yet its importance is not often emphasized. Things are always changing at work – the economy is up and down, new competitors are popping up out of nowhere, coworkers come and go, and priorities shift. If you can whether the storm of changes and manage to continue producing solid work, you will prove your worth 10 times over as an employee

Changing to Manage Processes

Companies change proceesses quite often - for many different reasons (growing pains, employee turnover, etc.), but at the end of the day, as an employee, you have to manage yourself through the changes. Yes, changing systems can be incredibly frustrating. Just when you get in the swing of doing things one way, your manager may ask you to do it differently.

Try keeping a log of how management is asking for a certain task to be done. It will keep you on track to make sure you’re doing it right. Also, (after giving it due time!) if you notice a particular change makes things less efficient, document a specific example of how, and find an appropriate time to inform management. Your boss will almost always be glad to listen to your input if you bring a solution to the table with you that is low effort and that you (not your manager) can lead. Be careful not to complain, but instead focus on increasing productivity.

No company ever has the perfect system. Most companies (even the established ones!) figure things out by trial and error. Instead of getting frustrated about yet another company change, however big or small, think of it as a learning experience and as an opportunity for your voice to be heard by presenting solutions. 

Changing to Manage People

Above and beyond being adaptable to company changes, it’s also important to be able to do things a little differently depending on who you’re working with. Taking the time to learn how people like to work, and modifying your work style to accommodate them, makes a world of difference. Some people are auditory learners and prefer discussions while others are very visual and need a hand-out or presentation. Some managers are hands-off as long as you get your work done while others are hands on and want a daily report. You will find some colleagues respond better when you speak to them face-to-face while others prefer email communication.

Whether it’s using a table in word instead of a spreadsheet in excel, small changes make a big difference.

Knowing how your colleagues operate can save you a lot of time and frustration. Bringing a positive attitude to work and learning to change to others (vs. expecting them to change to your needs) is a surefire way to make yourself into a good team player. Know what your end goal is, and be ready to work with your peers to get there in the way that works best for everyone.

Think of each adaption – big or small – as practice to become a great manager yourself someday. Things come up, and your ability to conquer the day and nail your presentation, no matter how difficult your team seemed at the beginning,