This Trait is Necessary For Adapting to Any Situation
September 23, 2020
Watch any office-oriented movie or TV show and you’ll probably see some pretty bad bosses. However, if you work in an office, you know that reality and fiction aren’t the same. Real-life leaders, for example, understand the importance of adapting to the situation at hand, something that 2020 has tested many of us on more than ever.
Staying adaptable is certainly challenging, but when we look at the lessons we as a company have learned over the past few months, a common theme emerged: Transparency.
Most humans thrive on routine. Whether we realize it or not, it helps reduce the burden of continual decision making. Do I wake up at 6:30 or 7:10? Should I eat whole-grain toast or fruit and yogurt for breakfast? When all of these questions are already answered, you have more brain space to dedicate to the important decisions you face during the day.
Naturally, the pandemic has disrupted daily routines and brought uncertainty in their place. For this reason, it’s more important than ever to plan for the unexpected. Nobody knows what lies ahead, but being able to say, “here is our plan for now, we’ll adapt as needed” increases transparency and helps reduce that decision-making burden from day-to-day life.
Long-term plans and goals aren’t the only place in which communication and transparency are key. There are more ways to communicate than ever, which also means there are more ways to miscommunicate than ever. Unfortunately miscommunication can cause, at best, momentary hang-ups and, at worst, hours or even days of wasted work. This makes it even more important to take steps to avoid miscommunication. Being transparent about expectations and overly clear on instructions may feel redundant, but prioritizing clarity means fewer mistakes (and less stress) down the road.
What’s the key to transparent communication? Essentially, it’s just empathy. Empathy and adaptivity go hand in hand. Being able to connect with others and understand their situation gives you a better idea of your team’s needs. In turn, this helps you plan for future needs.
Empathy can also advance a level of vulnerability and emotion in the workplace. This might sound scary, but it can also have a major payoff: creating a stronger team. According to Inc., establishing a culture of openness and allowing vulnerability helps teams form stronger bonds.
Ultimately, adaptability doesn’t mean making plans for situations A-Z. It means understanding and planning around your company’s goals and employees’ needs, and hopefully coming out of challenges stronger, together.