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Adaptability – ways to foster it for better work and mental wellness

Adaptability – ways to foster it for better work and mental wellness

Adaptability – ways to foster it for better work and mental wellness

Across many organisations, adaptability has become a key skill set - even becoming the top skill of the moment in LinkedIn’s 2024 Most In-Demand Skills list.

However, it is a factor some people are not aware of.

According to research, around 44% of employees do not see adaptability as a skill they possess. In addition, only 15% of employees mention adaptability on their CV.

Despite many employers seeing how crucial adaptability is as a work skill, the same research also suggests that only 8% of employers actually provide some form of training in adapting, be it towards work environments or changing demands.

Hence, how can businesses effectively foster adaptability to reap its benefits in terms of skills as well as mental wellness? Here are some strategies and insights:

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Improving Problem-Solving Skills

Effective problem-solving is a cornerstone of adaptability. With any issue that one might face, being able to use a structured process of identifying problems, brainstorming solutions, defining the best approach, and implementing it - helps individuals enhance their ability to navigate a variety of challenges.

Each problem solved strengthens adaptability, making it easier to tackle future issues, even if they differ in nature.

For instance, when faced with conflicting priorities, such as being tasked with a new initiative while already committed to a project with a tight deadline, employing problem-solving skills can lead to creative solutions like delegating tasks to team members.

The key here is the ability to respond. By developing the thinking and toolset when it comes to finding solutions, enables individuals to overcome obstacles efficiently and thrive in dynamic work environments.

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Learn to Embrace Change

As mentioned before, change is inevitable, and embracing it is crucial for developing adaptability. Rather than resisting or denying change, individuals should learn to accept and even welcome it as an opportunity for growth.

For instance, imagine a scenario where a company adopts new technology that significantly alters existing workflows. Instead of feeling apprehensive about the change, employees can embrace it as a chance to learn new skills and streamline processes.

However, embracing change goes beyond the risk taking associated with tackling and addressing the unfamiliar. Embracing change also requires practising self-care during transitions, and seeking support when needed. This can take the form of mindfulness and focusing on the present. This can aid in developing a curiosity and openness towards the new.

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Keep an Open Mind

Finally, maintaining an open mind is essential for adaptability. It involves being willing to pivot from preconceived notions and considering alternative perspectives and possibilities.

To develop an open mind, individuals can ask higher-level questions, practise active listening, withhold judgments until gathering all relevant information, and explore diverse viewpoints.

For example, consider a scenario where a team is brainstorming solutions to a complex problem. Instead of dismissing unconventional ideas, team members with open minds actively encourage the exploration of all possibilities, fostering creativity and innovation.

Being exposed to and understanding a variety of perspectives helps add new ideas and can give fresh insights into the world and teach someone new things about themselves. This helps individuals develop strength when it comes to facing and embracing ideas outside their comfort zone - developing the ability to deal and adapt with changes that comes their way.

Adaptability and the future

Looking into the future, adaptability is not merely about surviving a change. According to experts, to be truly adaptable, one needs to be actively prepared and supportive of it.

You need to be able to embrace the change and keep an open mind to add more capabilities into your toolbox, honing your own problem-solving skills to meet emerging needs.

The core of adaptability, as mentioned by Dorie Clark, is the ability to recognise that when things go awry, it is not a mortal wound. Instead, “It’s about understanding that, with an experimental mentality, you might find something better.”

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