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Adaptability as a Management Competency

Yesterday I attended an event centered around the topic of social media and its implications for employee relations issues in the workplace.  Many businesses have already put social media policies in place to provide instruction to employees and managers about workplace issues and social media.  Even the best social media policy, however, can only do so much to address areas that can cause potential employee relations issues both in and out of the immediate workplace.

As I listened to the discussion, I was reminded of just how complex the job of a manager or supervisor is today in the new business normal.  Technological advances offer enormous opportunities for us to conduct business in ways we never would have dreamed possible.  We can also reach out to other people and connect with them in new ways through social media outlets. Unfortunately, these new opportunities also include potential risks for misuse and for creating employee problems which land at the fee of the manager to address.

The role of the manager is continuing to evolve in response to the changing requirements of the new normal workplace such as those presented by social media.  What this means is that we as managers must learn how to change and adapt to our new workplace.  So many of the problems we face every day are adaptive versus technical ones.

Technical problems—knowable; can be clearly described and named; can be solved by applying existing known techniques; have a start and end

 Adaptive challenges or problems—require learning and change; require adapting to the situation and changing ourselves, not the situation; have no clear start and end time frames

One of the competencies of successful managers in the ever changing new normal workplace is adaptability.  Managers who  exhibit this competency are effective in workplaces and in work situations because they are capable of addressing situations that have no predetermined outcomes or clearly defined solutions.  They recognize the importance of changing themselves and influencing others to do the same in response to  changing situations that require new approaches and solutions.

For some managers, the competency of adaptability is one that comes naturally and can be further developed with a modicum of self-awareness and attention to practicing it in the workplace.  For others, developing the competency of adaptability feels uncomfortable and presents more of a challenge.  It requires more effort and intentional practice for some managers to develop because being adaptive means finding solutions in unfamiliar territory and leading others to do the same.

The good news it that adaptability can be developed by managers who are open to new approaches and who are willing to incorporate  changes to their current management style.    These changes require letting go of  former ways of thinking and a commitment to personal transformation  which will ultimately lead to performance improvement.

Here is one suggestion to begin developing the competency of adaptability.

Get comfortable being uncomfortable.  This represents the beginning of learning about the essence of adaptability.

What other suggestions do you have to help managers develop the competency of adaptability?


Categories: Management, New Normal, Performance, Transformation
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