How to Adapt to Change in a Leadership Role

How to Adapt to Change in a Leadership Role
July 20, 2016 Linda Murray
In Coaching, Leadership, Strategy


Do you hold a leadership role?  Once upon a time being able to adapt to change was a wonderful skill to have as a leader. In today’s modern business world, adaptability is a must-have skill to give you the competitive advantage over others.

Adaptability has been recognised as an essential leadership skill for a while. In 2008, the Economist Intelligence Unity did a study to show the top three leadership qualities that would rise to the forefront in the years ahead.

Their study listed the top three qualities as follows:

  • Ability to motivate staff
  • Ability to work well across cultures
  • Ability to facilitate change

Adaptability in the Leadership Role.

The ability to continuously adapt to change means seeking to move out of one’ comfort zone and not everyone likes that. We can, quite quickly, become creatures of habit when locked into one way of doing things. However, with practice, we can change our attitudes and keep up with the fast pace of the business world.

What does adaptability look like? What skills and abilities can you work on to ensure you are adaptable to change?

These are excellent starting points for all leaders to consider.

  • Handle emergency situations
  • Solve problems creatively
  • Deal with work stress effectively
  • Display cultural adaptability
  • Handle unpredictability well
  • Learn new technologies and procedures
  • Show interpersonal adaptability

So now that you understand some of the main traits of adaptability, what can you do to change this?

Amend your automatic behaviours

The next time someone brings you an idea, take a moment to consider its application. Imagine a time where you would have automatically said no because you like how things are playing out for your team or organisation. Challenge your thinking to become a better leader.

Focus on facts and observations

It is easy to over-analyse something and make your decisions on pure conjecture or inference. Knowing how to be able to tell the difference will cut through much of the noise and help you to make decisions based on the information presented to you.

Bend the rules a little

Rules are put in place to avoid corporate collapse but what happens if you bend the rules in certain situations or push the envelope out to see what will happen? Perhaps one or two so-called standard procedures could be adapted to suit your needs better. Try it and see.

Change your perspective

Imagine that you are new to your position; what would outside eyes pick up? What would they change or challenge to improve on the solid practices already created? You may think you are happy with the status quo. However, if you need to continuously defend your practices, it might be time to change.

Switch up your routine

If you have always done something that way, do something else. It is the little changes you make to your routine that will help you move outside of your comfort zone and trigger new, even bigger, possibilities. Start becoming more open to new ideas and options in all aspects of your life.

Lead the way

Instead of being the resistor, become the leader. Be the first in your company to embrace new technology, processes, and tools that will help others grow and develop both personally and professionally. Be a leader both in your actions and words.

Adapting is a continual process. You cannot purely pride yourself on being surrounded by specialised workers; you need to up your personal game and re-train to re-think. It is good for both your personal effectiveness and your leadership effectiveness.

Are you ready to adapt to change?

By altering your own perspective, you can handle whatever comes your way. Detours and delays can then be welcomed as challenges and opportunities rather than problems.

All you need is a little bit of courage to take the first step.

I repeat; are you ready?

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