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Dream of being the boss? Learn to adapt to change

By Maureen Lynch, Director of Hays Ireland

When it comes to managing people you can be guaranteed one thing, it’ll be unpredictable. And if there is one thing you will need to be, it’s adaptable.

As a manager of people, you will constantly be challenged by your team’s desires and motivations and as they change you will be forced to play more than one character.

For instance, you will look at the rapid changes occurring in today’s world of work with an open mind, consider and experiment with new ways of performing tasks and motivate your team to adapt and grow accordingly to remain successful.

You’ll juggle multiple responsibilities effectively and won’t drop the ball when priorities change suddenly.

You’ll adapt your leadership style for each team member according to what works best for them. For example, one team member may value regular feedback and direction but another may consider this to be micromanagement.

The best people managers also adapt development plans to suit the needs and goals of the individuals in their team. For example, an employee who wants to grow their skills in a particular area could be offered a relevant stretch opportunity while a poor performer may need one-on-one coaching.

Manage with retention in mind

A recent Hays survey shows that half of skilled professional workers have left a job wholly or partly to get away from their manager.

Perhaps this is why employers are now paying far more attention to who they promote into people management roles. They are assessing top performers to determine if they have the necessary soft skills to lead.

So how can you demonstrate the adaptability required to manage? Here are our tips:

Change is good: Whether organisational, technological or skills-based, change is inevitable. Next time something new is proposed or put forward, embrace it, shift the way you work accordingly, and then help others in your team to do the same. As my colleague Nick Deligiannis rightly says in this blog, you must show you can move out of your comfort zone and see change as an opportunity for growth and innovation.

Use your intuition: Understand your emotional response to change, problems and stress. If necessary, work on improving your emotional intelligence (EQ) so you remain calm and poised in these situations. If you see someone else struggling, be helpful and empathetic. As my colleague Michael Jones outlined in a previous blog, don’t forget to tap into positive emotions. For instance, could you give a colleague an inspiring pep-talk to help them see the positives that can result from adapting to change?

Have your finger on your industry pulse: Be aware and responsive to changes occurring in your industry or sector. Join relevant LinkedIn Groups, attend industry events and networking functions, tune into webinars and podcasts and keep an eye on what the competition. This will help you stay on top of current trends and then adapt by plugging any resulting skill or knowledge gaps.

Encourage diverse idea generation: More workplaces are embracing diversity of thought and collaboration to encourage employees to share ideas. As Nick Deligiannis writes in this blog, show you can adapt by embracing the ideas of others and, in cases where you may not agree with a colleague’s opinion, keep the resulting debate on-task and professional, never personal. Never put a fellow employee down for speaking her or his mind.

Keep going: If your first solution to a problem is turned down by your manager, come up with an alternative. Don’t dwell on the rejection of your idea or become resentful – there could be many reasons you haven’t considered as to why it was not viable. Instead, accept the decision and go back to the drawing board to create an even better course of action.

With these tips, you can demonstrate you have the adaptability required to step into the world of people management. You’ll show you can flex in response to what motivates your employees and changes in your workplace, industry and wider world of work. Importantly, you’ll demonstrate an ability to adapt to suit any situation at hand.

For more information on your recruitment needs, please contact your local consultant

About this author

Maureen joined Hays in 2000 where she specialised in Senior Accounting and Finance recruitment. With over 17 years’ experience, Maureen is the Director for Cork, Limerick and Galway along with over overseeing the Banking and Construction & Property operations in Cork. She also provides training expertise in the area of candidate screening and interviewing.

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