Solidarteit Wêreld
2020 – Uitgawe 4 My Werk
Adaptability the #1 working skill for a Covid-19 workplace
Deur Lize-Mari | 14 September 2020

Foto krediet: iStock

By Wilmarie Brits

According to Albert Einstein, the measure of intelligence is the ability to change. In 2020, this is especially true. The labour market is rapidly changing due to Covid-19 and its devastating economic impact on every aspect of the workplace, and experts say we are seeing the greatest labour fluctuation of our time which will affect everyone.

The current period of extraordinary change and uncertainty is characterised by job losses, extreme pay cuts and businesses closing down permanently. The situation changes almost daily, making adaptability the number one skill to have in the workplace today.

Laurie Leinwand, a licensed professional counsellor, defines adaptability as the ability to be creative and flexible in new situations. Leinwand says most people tend to shut down when confronted with change, which she describes as a rip current – if you swim against it, you will never reach the shore. “Ride change like a wave, if you are in a fall, a rise will follow,” she says.

Having the ability to cope with change and capitalise on it will allow you to see the possibilities in the unanticipated change. According to Sue L. Motulsky, a professor in psychology, adaptability is often seen as a personality trait. “Some people are more adaptable by nature than others, so in the current unpredictable circumstances, we see some people embrace change, while others are struggling,” she explains.

But if embracing change does not come naturally, can it be acquired as a skill? According to Motulsky, adaptability can definitely be taught and acquired.

Here are a few ways of training yourself to be more adaptable:

  1. Change the way you think about situations

Doing things in a certain way because that is how it has always been done, will prevent you from seizing opportunities to improve, learn, and grow. Change the way you think and you will open the door to creativity and other perspectives.

  1. Force yourself to take risks

Anne Converse Willkomm, an assistant clinical professor, encourages employees to take risks. “You have to be able to take risks in order to make progress, because taking risks is [a] key part of being adaptable,” she says.

  1. Embrace learning

According to Willkomm, people who are curious also tend to be adaptable. If you are not naturally adaptable, you must embrace learning in order to become more flexible.



Deur Cilleste van Dyk Ons sal self. Hierdie drie woorde kan baie arrogant klink sonder die regte konteks. Solidariteit sê: Ons sal self, nie omdat ons dink dat ons dinge alleen of deur ons eie krag sal regkry nie, maar omdat dat daar geen ander opsie is vir ’n voorspoedige toekoms nie. Daarom sê ons […]

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