What Is Adaptability?

And why is it a human (soft) skill that shouldn’t be overlooked?

Adaptability is currently having a buzz word moment in the workplace. But what does being adaptable mean exactly? Put simply, adaptability is about changing our perspective to see a person, environment or situation in different ways – and flexing our approach in response.

The rapid change brought about by factors such as the pandemic, the shift to hybrid working and the economic downturn means that employees are having different thoughts and feelings about their careers.

Being stuck in old ways of thinking (believing that things should be a certain way simply because they’ve always been that way) won’t fly in this current working environment. This kind of fixed mindset and lack of adaptability can contribute to toxic work culture and employee dissatisfaction.

So, how can you improve skills in adaptability? Take a look at our top tips below.

Four Tips to Increase Your Adaptability in the Workplace

1. Banish Your Ego

Leaving your ego at the door can be hard when you’re truly committed to something, but acknowledging others’ opinions, pausing during challenging situations (instead of blindly reacting), and learning to let go, help to bring about solutions.

2. Open Your Mind

Be willing to pivot when things don’t go your way or when circumstances change. Practise active listening, don’t be quick to judge and try to come at a problem from various angles. Collaboration is usually the key to cracking a problem and helps us get unstuck.

3. Stay Out of the Comfort Zone

Have you heard the phrase “the comfort zone is where ideas go to die”? Well, staying in your comfort zone also kills your ability to adapt. This warm cocoon will never prepare you for change – instead, fresh and bold ways of thinking will help you strengthen your skills in adaptability.

4. Be Mindful

Many of us jump quickly to solutions, and while this might work a lot of the time, it can be a recipe for disaster for adaptability. Instead, stop, think, be present, and make sure you’re designing solutions that positively impact the future. Adaptability is about seeing all possibilities.

Like any other skill, adaptability improves when it’s continually practised – when you make a habit of flexing and cultivating different types of thinking.

If you’d like to learn more about thinking styles, check out this quick 3-minute video.

Learn More on Human (Soft) Skills

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Time Management

Poor time management can cost businesses a lot of money. We explore how time management is one of the biggest struggles employees face and how to apply strategies for improved workflow planning and focussed work.


Poor communication gets lost in translation and can result in a frustrated team, toxic relationships and a lack of motivation. Learn more about communication styles and how you can make the most of this skill.

Presentation Skills

Confidently presenting an idea is a must when it comes to getting your message across. While presenting in front of anyone can be nerve-wracking, we explore how to develop this skill in easy, consistent ways.

Reach Out

If you’ve got questions about human (soft) skills development and how we can help, get in touch.

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