Creating Personal Power Through Increased Adaptability by Dr. Tony Alessandra
A wise person once commented, “A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing.” That is, as people begin to learn about a new topic, they tend to jump to oversimplified and incomplete conclusions. When that happens, they are often less successful than is possible. But with continuing effort, thought, and increased study, they eventually graduate to a higher level of excellence. In terms of adaptability, this means it is essential for us to understand the following principles:
1. Adaptability is not a goal in and of itself, but a means to the end of increased personal effectiveness and success.
2. A key to effectiveness is to realize what level and type of adaptability component(s) are the critical factors in achieving a targeted goal.
3. Being adaptable also means assessing the other available resources that can allow you to get your desired outcomes by acting smarter.
Adaptability, then, is important because it directly relates to your degree of achieved success in relationships with other people, to coping with changing conditions around you, to managing different types of situations.
Extreme behavior can raise others’ tensions
At times people may perceive extreme adaptability as acting wishy-washy, sashaying back and forth across the fence line, or acting two-faced. Additionally, a person who maintains high adaptability in all situations and relationships may not be able to avoid personal stress. This is usually temporary and may in fact be worth it if you gain rapport with the other person.
The other extreme of the continuum is little or no behavioral adaptability. This causes people to view someone as rigid and uncompromising – on behaving at his own pace and priority.
Adaptability is important to successful relationships of all kinds. People often adopt at least a partially different role in their professional lives than they do in their social and personal lives. This is to successfully manage the professional requirements of their jobs. Interestingly, many people tend to be more adaptable at work with people they know less and less adaptable at home with people they know better. Why? People generally want to create a good impression at work, but at home may relax and act themselves to the point of unintentionally stepping on other family members’ toes. Not an attractive family portrait, but often an accurate one.
Effectively adaptable people meet the key expectations of others in specific situations—whether it’s in personal or business relationships. Through attention and practice, you can achieve a balance of strategically managing your adaptability by recognizing when a modest compromise is appropriate. You’ll also understand when it’s necessary to adapt to the other person’s behavioral style.
Practice managing relationships in a way that allows everyone to win. Be tactful, reasonable, understanding, non-judgmental, and comfortable to talk to. This results in a moderate position between the two extremes. You’re able to better meet the needs of the other person as well as your own. Adapt your pace and priority. Work at relationships so everybody wins at work, with friends, on dates, and with family.
When you try to accommodate the other person’s expectations and tendencies, you automatically decrease tension and increase trust. Adaptability enables you to interact more productively with difficult people, helps you in strained situations, and assists you in establishing rapport and credibility. It can make the difference between a productive or an ineffective interpersonal relationship. And your adaptability level also influences how others judge their relationships with you. Raise your adaptability level—trust and credibility soar; lower your adaptability level—trust and credibility plummet.
Another way of looking at this whole matter is from the perspective of maturity. Mature persons know who they are. They understand their basic DISC behavioral type and freely express their core patterns. However, when problems or opportunities arise, they readily and deliberately make whatever adjustments are necessary in their core patterns to meet the needs of the situation or relationship. Immature persons, on the other hand, lose effectiveness in dealing with the real world when they lock into their own style. By disregarding the needs of others, they end up causing conflict and tension that lead to less satisfaction and fulfillment in their life environments.