How to Be Flexible and Open to Change in the Workplace

Eighteenth century poet, Robert Burns wrote, “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” When things don’t go according to plan in your daily job, are you able to change the plan to fit the circumstances? Or do you react and allow the circumstances to negatively affect your behavior? Learning how to become flexible and open to change can impact your professional career in a positive way. This article will share action steps on how to change the plan when the plan changes on you.

Flexibility has become a buzz word in today’s workplace environment. A timeless expression that aptly applies to this scenario is that a rigid and unbending tree won’t survive the raging winds of the storm. That is a perfect word picture for what flexibility actually means. If you are flexible in the workplace, you are able to respond and not react to both people and changing circumstances. The following steps will help you to become more flexible and open to change in the workplace.

1. Become an agent of change

With the advancement of technology, comes a wave of constant change. As an employee looking to excel on the job, if you cannot adjust to those changes, you won’t advance as quickly as you’d like. Economic times have been tough and many managers are seeking to increase office efficiency. Such alterations to processes may mean a change in your job tasks. Being able to accept such changes without complaint will show your flexibility. That gets the attention of management and can benefit your professional career with future advancement. Remember that you can also showcase your flexibility by becoming an agent of change and thinking outside the box. If you can be a problem solver who can come up with creative solutions, that will also get the attention of management.  

2. Become a team player

The first part of this step is to ascertain how well you associate with coworkers and those in management. Are you a team player and able to set aside your issues and simply get the job done? If there are disagreements with others, do you remain unbending and allow that to hinder completing projects? In order to become a team player, you also need to fully comprehend who you are as a person. That involves understanding your own personality. Take this free personality test which will provide you with a comprehensive idea of the various personality types you are. When you know what makes yourself tick and can begin to see things from other peoples’ perspectives, you become more of a team player in the work environment. Even if you have the best skillset at work, you need to combine that with being a team player if you want to advance in the workplace.

3. Become an idea maker

How open are you to new ideas? If your manager makes an announcement at the weekly team meeting of a change in how your department will operate, how do you react? You should be able to respond in a professional manner and accept the change. At that point, you should begin to get the creative juices flowing. Don’t be afraid of change. Rather see it as a blessing in disguise. It can be an opportunity for personal development and growth in the workplace. When changes and challenges arise, use those times to cultivate new ideas. Learn to accept that others will have new ideas to share as well. Becoming an idea maker also involves working with others to incorporate their ideas into the workplace as well.

4. Become responsible

While you are learning how to become more flexible and open for change, you need to become more responsible for your actions. Seek first to understand others and then to be understood yourself. When you make mistakes, admit them. When you know you are right, stand firm in your convictions. Take responsibility for each action, whether good or bad. Be proactive and become an expert at your job. Seize every opportunity to showcase leadership skills.

Knowing how to be flexible in the workplace when obstacles come your way will catapult you toward success. Just don’t give up and always keep the vision of your future career goals in mind. In order to be more flexible and open to change, you need to become an agent of change. Learn how to become a team player as well as an idea maker. Mesh all these skills together by cultivating a responsible attitude.