The Manager’s Adaptability Edge: An Overlooked but Essential Trait

Photo by Michael Held on Unsplash

This week LinkedIn published the results of a survey from a company post that asked readers about the “trait you value in a manager.” The winner was “Clear Communication” and coming in second was “Empathy.”

However, one key trait was missing from the poll that is an essential quality for any manager – Adaptability. I believe it could the number one trait that all managers should strive to develop.

Adaptability in a manager means being able to swiftly adjust to different situations or environments. Why is it a pivotal skill?

- Technology advancements and customer expectations change often. Managers need to be on their toes.

- Adaptability enriches team dynamics. The best managers can adjust their leadership style to meet the needs of each team member.

- Adaptability helps in managing risk, which often impacts multiple departments in a company. Collaborating across different groups can result in more robust risk mitigation plans.

Adaptability is a must-have trait for a manager. Examples include Mary Barra, GM’s CEO who adapted to change by investing heavily in electric cars. GM has become a leader in the push toward electric vehicles.

And Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO, showed adaptability in pivoting from desktop software and mobile technology to cloud computing and AI.

Adaptability complements other managerial skills such as empathy, communication, and organization. All of us can improve our managing by improving on this trait.


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