As we navigate through life in its current state, we must remain adaptable. Adaptability is a key trait in conquering the fear of the unknown and it is also a skill that is hard sought-after in leadership roles. Employers see this as a desirable skill because adaptable people are more communicative, more motivated, and less discouraged when faced with situations that require change. These leaders can assess environments and processes and then communicate, motivate, and lead their team to the best possible outcome for their situation.
If you think about it, communication plays a large role in adapting to any situation. Using the current pandemic as an example, the CDC recommended certain measures be in place to reduce the spread of the virus. As a result, restaurants became take-out only, businesses have contactless pickup and delivery, and people wear masks in public. Using the same example on a smaller scale, business owners and managers may have had to shut their doors and keep their businesses running at the same time. In order to do so, they may have needed to learn and adopt new technology such as video conferencing services, cloud-based data storage, and intranets so that they could easily keep in contact with their teams, make it possible for their teams to keep in contact with clients and each other, and easily retrieve company information and data. Communication is the catalyst that makes adaptability possible—especially when more than one person needs to adapt.
Looking at this theoretically, communication has been explored as a sub-system and systems binder that is necessary for an organization to grow and develop. Adnan Almaney is a communications professor and author that studied this in 1974. This philosophy is known as systems theory. He said that as a binder, communication is a maintenance mechanism when used (internally) within an organization because it keeps the day-to-day processes going but externally is used as an adaptive mechanism because when faced with external forces, environments, and threats, communication is the only way to adapt to these changes. This theory still stands true today. Leaders of businesses, schools, government offices, and everything in between are using communication to adapt to new norms as a result of the pandemic.
Unprecedented circumstances require adaptability. A leader’s aptitude to communicate through human emotions such as fear, anxiety, and uncertainty, can set their team at ease. Being able to assess a situation, communicate a plan, and put transitional measures in place that allows a team to adapt, are strong and unique qualities that effective leaders possess.
If you’re a leader that has struggled with getting your team to adapt, you should maybe try refining your communication skills. Workforce Solutions has programs that are specifically tailored for enhancing communication in leadership roles with topics such as adaptive leadership, workplace change, stress management, and more. As an additional resource, listen in on our webinar that talks about leading through crisis. You can also check out the full course catalog and let us know how we can help you to help your team adapt through communication.