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How to Be Flexible at Work While Still Advocating for Yourself

January 4, 2023

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A team works together, looking up from their table up at a coworker. Image demonstrates importance of learning how to be flexible at work.
Learning how to be flexible prepares you for good collaboration and leadership roles.

The world is changing all the time. In order to keep up, you have to learn how to be flexible in the workplace without running yourself ragged. Oftentimes, we mistake flexibility for a willingness to do whatever we’re asked without regard for our own needs. It doesn’t have to be that way. Let’s take a closer look at what it means to be flexible at work while still creating boundaries. 

Why Have Flexibility?

Change in the workplace is a given. If it hasn’t happened yet, it will happen in the future. While you can’t always predict when change is going to happen, it’s critical that you’re ready to handle it.

Flexibility is an important part of learning how to handle whatever changes come. It will help you be versatile and resilient in the face of new experiences and challenges. By being flexible, you can adapt to unpredictable events and unexpected demands. It will help you stabilize crisis situations and maintain the achievability of goals, even when things don’t go as expected. 

How to Be Flexible in the Workplace

Flexibility is a balance between a team-centered attitude and maintaining a sense of identity. Here are a few ways to achieve this balance and become more flexible.

Know Your Core Values

Knowing and holding onto your core values keeps you grounded during periods of change. This will be your baseline for deciding what you are willing to agree to when the unexpected happens. 

Stay Open-Minded

It’s important to be willing to see situations from more than one perspective. Limiting yourself to one point of view hinders your creativity and ability to problem-solve. 

Invest in Professional Development

With the workplace always in flux, it is important to stay up to date. If you don’t, you are far less likely to able to adapt to new situations. Ask questions, learn new skills, and keep up with new industry trends. Always broaden your knowledge. It is okay to stretch yourself and learn something new. 

Stay Optimistic

With all the stress and pressure in the workplace, it is important to stay optimistic. Focusing on the positives will help you become resilient during change. Take advantage of the chance to learn new skills or work with new people. Find the bright side of situations to reduce stress and save your sanity during unusual situations. 

Stay Calm and Carry On

It can be easy to fall into a pattern of anxiety or frustration when things don’t go how you expect. Counteract these feelings by taking deliberate steps to restore calm. This looks different for each person. You can perform stress relieving techniques or tackle a detailed plan to overcome the problem. This will give you a clear path forward. 

Build a Support Network

Find people at work that you can rely on in times of fluctuation. No matter what difficulties you are facing, you can support each other. Build trust and strengthen these relationships to create an air of collaboration and positivity in your team. It will help everyone function better as a team Plus, everyone will become more willing to support each other when hard times hit. 

Maintaining Cognitive Flexibility While Advocating for Yourself

Being flexible should by no means translate into being taken advantage of. It is crucial to advocate for yourself so your flexibility doesn’t get mistaken as a willingness to take everyone’s work. 

It is essential to create boundaries to allow you to stay productive at your job without getting burnt out. Understanding your needs as a person and a teammate, and setting healthy boundaries, pose many benefits. It will help you stay productive without detracting from your work quality. It protects you from burnout and creates barriers of mutual respect between co-workers. 

Be forthright about your wants and needs while still considering the needs of those around you. It is possible to be assertive and self-confident while still being empathetic to others. There is nothing wrong with helping a co-worker with their workload one time, while also saying no another time. 

Learn More About Setting Boundaries with ASAP

The American Society of Administrative Professionals has a wide range of resources for admins looking to improve their craft. Learn how to better advocate for yourself while still supporting your company’s growth. We offer articles, webinars, events, and more to help you stay current in the ever-changing professional world. Become a member today and get free weekly resources. 


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