How to Improve Your Adaptability in the Workplace

Karen Mosier, Research Coordinator and Navigator, University of Saskatchewan


Adaptability is the ability to deal with change, learn new skills, and work with a wide range of colleagues. It is a key soft skill. Developing adaptability skills can make you a more desirable person to work with or a much more preferred candidate if you are applying for a promotion or looking for a new job.  

Here are some simple ways to improve your adaptability:

1- Be a better listener

  • Actively listen to what’s going on in your workplace so that you’ll be able to understand how a situation should be handled
  • This will allow you to resolve any conflict or change with ease, produce the best response, and create a more positive environment for everyone involved

2- Learn from others

  • Find a mentor in your organization who stands out as being receptive to changes and challenges and look at their strengths and learn from them
  • Find out what their thought process is when they face challenges and analyze how it’s different from your own

3- Ask more questions

  • Ask advice from others who excel in adaptability
  • Don’t be afraid to ask your co-workers how they perform certain tasks and handle certain situations in the workplace

4- Accept more challenges

  • Don’t hesitate to throw yourself into unfamiliar territory so you can learn new things and lean on others for support as that’s what adaptable people do
  • Resolve to volunteer to help others with a group email arrives asking for help no matter how difficult the task may seem
  • The more you do this, the better you’ll be able to exhibit flexibility and assess how best to approach new scenarios

5- Rewire your thought process

  • When a challenge confronts you, look at your existing skills that could help you do the job
  • Detailing which tools you already have to get a monumental task done can be a huge confidence-booster

6- Don’t dwell on your mistakes

  • We all make mistakes so learn from your mistakes and move on
  • Treat mistakes as an opportunity to learn a valuable lesson, share knowledge and consider a future option
  • Instead of thinking about the consequences of failure, focus on the potential for positive instead

7- Find balance in your life

  • Balance your obligations in life and at work and evaluate the time you devote to them individually

8- Practice emotional intelligence

  • Be aware of your own emotions and the emotions of those around you
  • Use this awareness to help you shape your behavior and respond to certain workplace changes and situations
  • Always strive to stay in control of your emotions

To be ready for change or to deal with new challenges in the ever-changing workplace, focus on your adaptability skills. By focusing on these simple strategies, you can learn how to be more receptive to new ways of doing things and be ready to handle any situation. 



1- Ian Clark. The Enterprisers Project. 4 Ways to improve your adaptability.

2- Indeed Career Guide. Adaptability in the Workplace: Benefits and Importance.