Flexibility and adaptability tend to be the other Achilles heel for most managers. These two traits along with self-awareness are responsible for most managers’ success or downfall. So why does being flexible and adaptable matter to a successful career? Well, it actually matters to a successful life overall.
Whether you are a parent navigating the ups and downs of raising children into healthy citizens who contribute to their community or employees who own their duties and responsibilities- you as a manager/parent will need to be flexible and adaptable.
Flexibility and adaptability comes out of self-awareness and perspective. Perspective allows parents and managers to shift the angle from which they look at things, change the colour lenses they choose to see things through or their willingness to walk the proverbial mile in someone else’s shoes.
Flexibility and adaptability matter simply because of the sheer diversity within workplaces and homes one has to deal with. With diversity in age, stage of life and cultural and social mores- managers’ ability to shift their perspective and long held views will go a long way in helping them to achieve their overall goals.
Consider the family where the parents are new Canadians-immigrated as adults. Their children born in Canada, attend Canadian schools-spend the majority of their waking hours within the ‘Canadian community’- how do these parents navigate their way in raising these children while protecting and sharing their own cultural and social mores?
This is the scenario that more and more managers are facing or will be facing in the workplace. They are managing the parents of these Canadian- born children and their children too! They are also managing diversity in gender, religion and a myriad of other realities we face living in the 21st century. This is why managers- within the workplace and homes need to be flexible if they want to be successful with the tasks they have been assigned.
What exactly is the connection between Flexibility and Perspective?
Perspective is our way of seeing the world; it is our point of view that is built on our beliefs and associations. Our perspective determines how we experience life not the circumstances in our lives.
Like an iceberg, the perspective held on whatever situation managers face, is shaped by deep underlying beliefs about that situation. These are the principles they live by and are responsible for shaping what they value. Values are simply the deep principles used for guidance that managers have come to learn to value. If they know what they value they will know their underlying beliefs.
- Identify the employee’s/child’s intention and desire first by asking questions designed to do so.
- Identify their Perspective while being aware of your own
- Work with the employee/child to Reframe their Perspective
- Explore with the employee how to adopt a new perspective
- Evaluate the pros and cons of a new perspective
To truly succeed in the workplace and life overall managers and parents will need to practice the old saw ‘learn to bend but not break’.