Today’s dynamic workplace is full of changes and ambiguity. It is no wonder that flexibility and adaptability are much sought –after behaviors.

What exactly are flexibility and adaptability?

How does one acquire and improve these behaviors?

Flexibility means the capacity to be bent without breaking while adaptability means the ability to change or be changed to fit changes circumstances.

Flexibility and adaptability in the workplace refer to one’s ability and willingness to respond and adjust to changes by balancing your core beliefs the appropriate reaction to the change.

Employees that are flexible are said to be able to adapt to stakeholders’ needs and preferences; are able to take on more tasks; are more open to feedback; thus are more productive overall.

Three Dimensions of Adaptability

There are three dimensions of Adaptability according to Achieve Forum.

1. Ambiguity threshold
Your ambiguity threshold refers to how well you deal with ambiguity and uncertainty. Highly adaptable employees embrace ambiguity and change rather than be threatened by it and react negatively to it. Improve your ambiguity threshold by suspending judgement when ambiguous change is communicated to you. Avoid jumping to conclusions and thinking of “what ifs” when details are not yet clearly communicated. Seek out new opportunities outside your field of expertise to get used to new and changing things outside of your comfort zone.

2. Internal Monologue
Your internal monologue is the way you explain annoying, negative and /or adverse events to yourself. This affects your adaptability because if your self-talk is too negative or too positive, then it will be difficult for you to adjust to changes that go against your preferences and beliefs. Improve your internal monologue by making it realistic and positive. If your internal monologue is too positive or too negative, it may not be in line with reality.

3. Energy supply
Energy supply refers to your ability to access high levels of physical, mental and emotional energy.

Your ability to have high levels of energy affects your ability to be physically, mentally, and emotionally flexible and adaptable. Take care of your physical, mental and emotional health to ensure that you are able to deal with ambiguity and demanding changes in the workplace.

Here are some characteristics of highly flexible and adaptable people:

1. Intellectually Flexible. They keep an open mind and have both the big and small picture thinking.

2. Receptive to Change. They are always willing to learn and respond positively to change.

3. Creative. They always find new ways to deal with problems and adverse situations.

4. Highly adaptable people modify their behavior according to the needs of the situation.

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