According to Dubrin and Young, the ability to cope with change is the difference between success and failure in ones career (345). Not all people are able to deal with change in the same way. This therefore, highlights the need to empower people to improve their abilities to cope with change.
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A successful career depends on ones ability to deal with change. But according to results of a study conducted in more than 500 companies, employees deal with change differently; some are more adaptive while others are less adaptive (Dubrin and Young 345).
In the study, the ability to cope with change, here in referred to as flexibility, is determined by measuring up to seven personality traits, which can be grouped in the following two broad categories: positive self image as well as the ability to cope with risks. Individuals with high scores in the two aforementioned traits are said to be highly flexible.
In coping with change the two aforementioned traits are found to also have a strong correlation with the ability to cope with ambiguity and positive emotional disposition.
Thus, being optimistic as well as having the ability to cope with ambiguity in time of extreme uncertainties enables employees not only to cope with change but also to benefit from it.
The assertions made herein indicate that only those employees who posses these traits have the ability to cope with change, and also spell doom for those without.
This therefore raises the question of how employees lacking both in the ability to cope with ambiguity and positive emotional disposition can become flexible and be able to cope well with change. It is essential for such employees to conduct a self assessment which enables them to determine how flexible they are.
This involves a series of self administered questions that address a number of issues ranging from the inability to appreciate differing opinion, inability to deal with dissenting work mates, avoiding work related challenges among other issues.
If an employee scores highly in these test, then he or she has a limited ability to cope with change and is thus less flexible. Improving their tolerance capabilities becomes necessary.
Dubrin and Young (345) make simple but effective suggestions on how inflexible employees can improve their ability to cope with change. These suggestions are not just practical steps towards overcoming such inabilities but are aimed at changing an employee’s attitudes as well.
Dubrin and Young’s suggestions also encourage proactive rather than a reactive approach. To improve ones flexibility, Dubrin and Young challenge employees to look for opportunities that involve ambiguous tasks and learn to develop a positive attitude about them (345). Identifying positive attributes that enhance positive affect is vital in such a case.
When faced with forced change, employees ought to adopt the ‘what if’ approach. Asking a number of ‘what if’ questions with regards to ones career enables an employee to take responsibility for ones career growth.
Dubrin and Young (335 to 346) further suggest that employees ought to ask themselves these questions before major changes occur to avoid being caught unawares. It also helps one to gain an understanding on the inevitability of change. All these increase receptiveness to change, and improves ones flexibility.
Flexibility is an essential trait that facilitates career growth. Unfortunately, it is not a universal occurrence. Developing it follows simple to do steps and is largely rthe prerogative of individual employees.
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DuBrin, Andrew and Jeffrey Young. Fundamentals of Organizational Behavior. Ontario: Thomson Nelson. 2006. Print.