Navigating Change: The Definition of Adaptability and Its Relevance to Work

April 10, 2023


An executive assistant showing they can demonstrate the definition of adaptability in the workplace.
There is no ego in adaptability.

Change in the workplace can be challenging. It can cause a domino effect of structural changes, operational adjustments, and personnel shifts. However, sometimes changes in the workplace are beneficial, even when they’re challenging at first. Practicing adaptability will help you navigate change in your workplace and will likely help your colleagues do the same. 

The definition of adaptability is “the quality of being able to adjust to new conditions.” In the workplace, adaptability means effectively adjusting to various situations, challenges, and changes within your organization. 

Being adaptable is a valued trait amongst administrative professionals. Here are some helpful tips on navigating change and practicing adaptability in your workplace. 

Practice Adaptability by Controlling What You Can 

No matter your position in a company, you will be faced with changes. Even CEOs, the decision-makers, have to ebb and flow with external changes and shifts that affect their business. The most crucial point to remember and practice is to exercise control over what you can and let go of what you can’t control. This will help you improve your adaptability.

First, identify what you can control regarding the change in your daily routine or work functions. Then, focus on what YOU can do to streamline or minimize the effects of this change. 

Do you need to shift your schedule? Is more training or education required? Figure out what you can control and how you can strengthen those areas for further adaptability skills. This will result in an easier transition and higher morale. If you are in a management position, allow your team members to do the same, giving them reign to exercise control over what they can. 

There Is No Ego in Adaptability 

Oftentimes, changes can feel threatening to administrative professionals. If you’ve been doing your job well and things seem to be running smoothly, why should someone question your systems or make changes? While it’s hard to see at first, change is an opportunity for new growth and possibilities. New beginnings have never come from something that never changes its state. 

Although it may be hard to swallow your pride or not take offense, it’s important to put aside your ego when practicing adaptability. Rather than focusing on how workplace changes will affect you personally, find the bigger picture and examine how they may benefit the business overall. 

Furthermore, don’t take changes personally or as an indication that you’re doing something wrong. Even successful systems and processes can often be streamlined and made more efficient or cost-effective. These types of adjustments should never be viewed as a personal attack or insinuation of a lack of effort.  

Stay Positive! 

Workplace changes can often result in disgruntled employees and “water cooler talk.” Engaging in negative chatter and complaints will affect your morale and your productivity. Healthy communication is an important factor in workplace morale and success. 

Don’t engage in unhealthy and unresourceful gossip circles. Instead, try to practice adaptability in communication and change the way you respond to and engage with inter-office complaining. If you have valid concerns or observations regarding changes in your workplace, take these to your supervisor directly. 

If you are in a managerial administrative role, your response to change is even more important. Your team will look to you for how to respond to and adapt to workplace changes. If you stay positive and adaptable, this will trickle down to your team and colleagues. 

Put It Into Practice 

If you want to work on your adaptability as an administrative professional, ASAP is here to help. Our training courses and in-person events provide an opportunity to learn new skills and practice them. Collaborating with like-minded individuals in the same profession makes it easier to put these tools into practice. 

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