How to Lead a More Adaptable Team

COVID-19 has changed our world with astounding speed, ushering in business transformations that might have otherwise stayed comfortably on the backburner for the foreseeable future. And whilst we are in a period of unprecedented flux, change remains a constant feature of the modern business landscape in the long term.

In responding to change, organisations must do more than just move quickly – after all, without a clear path, this might just mean getting to the wrong place faster. The thing that allows companies to withstand uncertainty is being able to adapt, and adapting as a team.

So, as a leader, how can you build a more adaptable team culture that will see your organisation through the coming months?

1. Establish a Common Goal

A lack of clarity around the mission, objectives and metrics is one of the biggest hindrances to an adaptable team. If people don’t understand the bigger picture, how can they align their efforts and deliver results?

Communicating a clear objective (and relating it to the wider business vision) allows you to define what success looks like to the team and identify the strategies for getting there. By ensuring that everyone understands the expectations as well as their own responsibilities and role, you will see better decision-making and be able to hold them accountable.

2. Be Curious

Most people feel uncomfortable with ambiguous and uncertain details, but if you know how to adapt to a variety of circumstances, “different” doesn’t scare you – it makes you curious. 

A culture of healthy curiosity supports creative thinking, experimentation and innovation. You must help people to understand the problem, urge them to consider different ways of solving it and allow room for failure. It isn’t only about major changes – encouraging smaller experiments can help remove the fear from the process and provide a valuable learning opportunity.

In doing so, teams can learn to be more comfortable with uncertainty and remain positive – and curious – in challenging situations.  

3. Value Diverse Perspectives

To be truly adaptable, people need to be empowered to share their opinions and make their own decisions. Valuing diverse viewpoints supports greater transparency, knowledge sharing and collaboration within the team, which, in turn, makes adapting to change much easier.

Create an environment where people feel comfortable to share their ideas without fear of criticism, but which also encourages honest (yet respectful) discussion. As a leader, it’s important to model this by being open to feedback, truly listening to the views of team members and not being afraid to admit when you don’t know something.

4. Promote Continuous Learning

Change often forces us out of our comfort zones and stretches our abilities, but for adaptable teams, doing this needs to become a habit that is built into the working practices of the organisation. Seeking out the tools to respond to unexpected situations though learning and upskilling equips people to feel comfortable in uncomfortable situations.

By fostering a growth mentality, whether by providing personalised training to address individual employees’ needs or through regular stretch assignments, you can help people learn to be adaptable through experience and acquire the skills they need to thrive in the face of uncertainty.

5. Model the Right Mindset

When it comes to adaptability and resilience in a crisis, mindset is everything. Whilst it’s important to be sensitive to the issues people are facing, such as job uncertainty, reduced hours and financial hardship, the way you think about a situation is one of the most powerful tools you have to withstand it.

As a leader, make sure you’re modelling a mindset of optimistic realism by focussing on the factors you can control and giving your team the confidence that you will find a way through.


As the world scrambles to respond to the pandemic, leadership will be tested in unimaginable ways. However, by applying these strategies, leaders can create resilient teams that can effectively adapt to whatever the situation throws at them next.

If you’re looking for high-quality, adaptable talent for your business, speak to the Tech market specialists at Emanate Technology today.