Embracing Adaptability and Resiliency at Work 

Stress, change, and new challenges in the workplace are part of career growth. It doesn’t all come easy. The pressures of work, such as meeting deadlines, facing setbacks, learning new skills or technologies, can mount on an individual. To thrive in an environment like this requires learning how to adapt and bounce back from tough situations. It takes grit.  

Adaptability and resiliency aren’t theoretical concepts; you learn them best by facing challenges that require flexibility and intuition. They are behaviors and actions to incorporate in everyday work-related scenarios that must be practiced.  

But to practice adaptability and resilience at work, it’s important to have them defined and know what they look like in the workplace. 

What Is Adaptability at Work? 

Adaptability is how you can cope and align with challenges and change. In the workplace, this means adjusting expectations, setbacks, innovative technology, new processes, new management, and the like. That new tool the company rolled out? It takes time—and often skill—to adapt to it. And it certainly takes intentionality.  

Adaptive people look at change as a challenge rather than an inconvenience. 

Here are some of the primary traits associated with adaptability. 

Adaptability Traits 

  • Collaborative 
  • Open-minded 
  • Empathetic 
  • Genuinely curious 
  • Problem solver 
  • Observant 

These traits help employees adapt to new situations and challenges. Some come naturally, but others require investment. Ask questions. Consider different perspectives or reasons.  

From a management side of things, you can make adaptability easier to come by, too. Explain the why. Why is this process changing? Why must we use this new tool? Knowing the reasoning behind a change or the challenge ahead helps garner buy-in and full adoption. 

Adaptiveness doesn’t require blind loyalty or adoption. In fact, asking questions, probing, and understanding could help bring new perspectives to the conversation.

What Is Resiliency at Work? 

Resiliency is about recovering from difficulties. In fact, step one to building a sense of resiliency is accepting not everything will happen how it was planned, and not every goal will be accomplished. It’s how you bounce back. (Hint: adaptability is a critical part of being able to do this.) 

Resiliency Traits 

While some people naturally possess resilience, others can develop it through trial and error. It’s something to work toward. 

Some traits/behaviors to acknowledge and work on to be more resilient include: 

  • Growth mentality 
  • Adaptability 
  • Self-awareness 
  • Realism 
  • Perseverance 
  • Self-compassion 
  • Healthy optimism 

You’ll notice that many of these revolve around caution in how you operate. “Healthy optimism” isn’t blind optimism. Context for these situations matter. Sometimes, when a project dies, it’s dead. Regardless of the outcome that demands resilience, acknowledge it anyway! Learn from it. Adapt. Believe that there’s a way to bounce back. 

Now, in the workplace, it’s vital to create an environment that encourages resiliency. Employees should be given the opportunity to bounce back, learn, and come up with solutions. It can be difficult to nurture resilient employees if they feel discouraged or their job is threatened. So, try encouraging resiliency—then enable it. 

Benefits of Adaptability and Resiliency 

Adaptability and resiliency at work benefits personal, career, and business growth. In learning to adapt and overcome problems, people are equipped to handle change and uncertainty. These are things that happen every week at every business. 

The long-term impact of enabling adaptability and resiliency includes: 

  • Greater employee satisfaction 
  • Building a positive mindset and culture throughout the business 
  • Improved productivity 
  • Developing an innovative culture 
  • Improved communication skills 

Embracing and implementing a resilient and adaptive culture will help you—and the business you work for—grow.