Adaptable Managers: Characteristics & Importance

Adaptable Managers: Characteristics & Importance
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  • 0:05 The Importance of Adaptability
  • 1:25 Adaptable Manager…
  • 2:42 Strategies to Become…
  • 4:13 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Beth Hendricks

Beth holds a master's degree in integrated marketing communications, and has worked in journalism and marketing throughout her career.

If you want to become a more effective leader, you must be an adaptable leader. In this lesson, you'll learn more about the characteristics of adaptable managers and why adaptability is so important in leadership.

The Importance of Adaptability

CEO Jeff Bezos once famously said of his company, Amazon, that he wants them to be ''stubborn on the vision and flexible on the details.'' What does that mean? It means that he wants the leading e-commerce company to be adaptable in how it fulfills the vision set for itself.

That's a good motto whether you're the leader of a Fortune 500 company like Bezos or the principal of an elementary school. The ability to adapt is a critical skill for leaders and those who aspire to lead. The rapidly-changing nature of the business landscape requires that leaders embrace adaptability, or receptiveness to change, to be effective with their own teams and competitive in the marketplace.

Adaptable leaders help organizations to navigate difficulties with greater ease. They can also motivate others to be adaptable, which can help a business operate more efficiently. Adaptable leaders are known for their ability to:

  • Navigate workplace emergencies
  • Develop alternate solutions in problem-solving
  • Mitigate stress caused by workplace factors
  • Quickly pick up new work processes and technology
  • Handle unexpected changes effectively

Most adaptable managers possess certain characteristics that guide them as leaders. Let's take a look at some examples.

Adaptable Manager Characteristics

While adaptability might be considered a characteristic in its own right, adaptable managers have some other traits that lend themselves to greater flexibility and versatility.

  • Confidence: Confidence means trusting yourself, your decisions, and the abilities of those around you.
  • Tolerance: Tolerant leaders feel safe listening to the ideas and opinions of other people.
  • Empathy: Empathy is being able to put yourself in someone else's shoes and feel what that person is feeling.
  • Positivity: Positivity is about keeping a positive attitude rather than dwelling on the negative.
  • Respectfulness: Being respectful means regarding others' ideas, thoughts, and feelings as important.
  • Resilience: Resilience is how you bounce back from adversity.
  • Vision: Leaders who possess vision are able to picture how a business might be in the future.
  • Attentiveness: Attentive leaders pay attention to even the smallest details.
  • Competence: Competence does not only involve solving problems on your own, but also being able to find other problem solvers.
  • Self-correction: Self-correction entails being receptive to feedback and criticism in order to make things the best they can be.

Strategies to Become More Adaptable

So, maybe you've identified some commonalities with the traits of highly adaptable leaders, and maybe there are some you still need to work on. Here are some strategies managers can use to learn to become more adaptable to business and team settings.

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