‘It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.’ Charles Darwin
Flexibility is adapting emotions, thoughts and behaviours to unfamiliar, unpredictable and dynamic circumstances or ideas.
Being flexible means being open to new ideas, being receptive to change and being able to pick up new skills quickly. This applies to all areas of your life, not just the workplace. With the whole idea of a job for life becoming increasingly redundant, you need to be as flexible as possible if you’re to effectively manage your career (although this doesn’t mean jumping from bandwagon to bandwagon, as this will mean you’ll be unable to generate any career momentum).
Change is inevitable, but the good news is that you can plan for it and take advantage of any opportunities that present themselves to you as opposed to being overwhelmed by a new situation.
From a management point of view this is very important during reorganisations and other periods of dramatic change within departments, as teams are likely to become stressed during times like this. If you don’t set a positive example, they will soon become demotivated and your department’s progress will grind to a halt. Without a flexible approach to management, progress is impossible.
Although it’s inevitable that you’ll have to occasionally make changes to the way you do things, there must always be a good reason for it. If things are constantly being changed and reorganised within a team, it’ll be impossible for anyone to meet any goals, as the team will effectively be trying to hit a series of moving targets. Your approach should be flexible enough to handle the unexpected, but consistent enough for your staff to feel secure and motivated at all times.