Leading with the Adaptability StrengthsFinder Talent

from sidetracked to opportunity

July 31, 2023
Adaptability Chameleon

Do others describe you as someone who rolls with the punches or goes with the flow? If so, you probably have adaptability as one of your strengths.

When facing the unknown, where others proceed with caution,  you proceed with curiosity. You’re comfortable waiting to see how things will play out and then chart a just-in-time solution to move forward. 

When others get sidetracked, you see opportunity.

This strength of adaptability can be an enormous advantage in a VUCA world like today, and it can also be easily misunderstood as passive or reactive. Thus it is critical that you learn to best leverage your adaptability strength as a leader.

Your Strengths Have AntiPatterns

Adaptability StrengthsFinder TL;DR

The adaptability StrengthsFinder talent means you can shape a possible but undetermined future because you don’t see it as fixed, and this doesn’t overwhelm you.

If you’re already familiar with StrengthsFinder, you can skip over the next section.

What is StrengthsFinder?

StrengthsFinder is an assessment based on strengths psychology. The fundamental premise is you will get farther by maxing out your strengths rather than trying to improve your weaknesses. 

I’ve seen numerous leaders grow as they identified their talents and turned them into well-developed strengths. But you don’t have to be a leader to benefit from StrengthsFinder, and you can apply it to more than just work. 

Understanding your strengths and weaknesses helps you better understand and live out your unique design.

When others get sidetracked, you see opportunity.

Adaptability is just one of the 34 different strengths measured by StrengthsFinder. When you take the assessment, you will get back your top 5 strengths. You can pay for an ordered list of all 34, but I wouldn’t recommend that the first time you take the assessment.

Focus is critical to developing your strengths. Keeping just your top 5 in view helps you make meaningful growth in the areas of your life with the highest leverage and impact. 

How do you lead well with adaptability in your StrengthsFinder top 5?

So you’ve taken the StrengthsFinder assessment, received your results and found adaptability in the list. Now you’re wondering how to grow or leverage this strength in your leadership. 

I know what it's like when the plan is suddenly no longer valid, and decisions must be made without complete info. Leading through some chaotic and uncertain times, I’ve seen leaders with high Adaptability rise to the challenge.

Where others proceed with caution, you proceed with curiosity.

Here are four strategies I’ve seen those with the adaptability talent use to navigate the unknown.

  1. Be a calming presence for others.
  2. Verbalize the just-in-time plan.
  3. See a path through the whirlwind.
  4. Invite others to seize the moment.

Learn to recognize behaviors when you're over-leveraging your strengths to the point that they become liabilities. And discover the path back to health.

Be a calming presence for others.

Not everyone deals with change or the unexpected well. If fact, some struggle mightily with it. You can offer them a great gift in their moment of stress.

Your calming presence.

Most people with the strength of adaptability don’t get flustered by unexpected changes. And when your team encounters a sudden change, you can help steady those struggling by reminding them of other times the team navigated changes. 

It doesn’t have to be a crisis for your strength of adaptability to shine.

Others will read your non-verbals and mirror you. This calming allows people to self-regulate their emotions and re-engage in the rational part of their brain.

Verbalize the just-in-time plan.

When there is uncertainty, many people struggle to see a way forward. When you verbalize options and next steps, it simplifies the overwhelming chaos. 

You might not think to always do this because these steps seem intuitive to your adaptive mind. But when you name them, others can begin seeing with that same clarity that is your adaptability superpower. 

See a path through the whirlwind.

It doesn’t have to be a crisis for your strength of adaptability to shine. Everyday life and work have enough change and chaos that your team probably needs your help on any given Tuesday. 

You can ​​help others who feel overwhelmed navigate the chaos and complexity of our modern world.

Simple statements like, “given…(the observation you’re making), it seems like we could…(option you see a best) because it… (connection that seems obvious to you but may be invisible to others).

The key is presenting these possibilities to the team with an open hand because they may not choose to go that route or struggle to see the connection until much later.

Invite others to seize the moment.

Sometimes the team just needs an invitation. They hear what you’re saying, and they’re beginning to see the path forward, but they’re hesitant to step out. 

They need a nudge. 

I often like to invite by saying something like, “This is a good option for us at this moment, if it doesn’t work then we’ll evaluate and pivot. It will be all right.”

I’m affirming that the next step is a good one and that there is some risk, but the worst-case scenario isn’t likely because we’ll keep adjusting. 

Next steps for StrengthsFinder adaptability.

As you learn to lead using your top adaptability strength, you can shape a possible but undermined future. 

You don’t have to be hindered by plans seemingly written in stone; instead, you can ​​help others who feel overwhelmed navigate the chaos and complexity of our modern world.

Action Plan

Adaptable leaders can struggle with an antipattern of second guessing. Learning the strengths antipatterns will allow you to continue growing as a healthy, intentional leader. 

You are on a remarkable journey to living and leading from your strengths. You can explore the list below to learn about the rest of your top 5 strengths.

Frequently Asked Questions


So do I totally ignore my weaknesses and just focus on my strengths?

Strengths-based growth doesn’t encourage you to ignore your weaknesses but not to spend too much time trying to turn them into strengths. Instead, you may need to find team members or systems to fill in your gaps.

Learn more about how StrengthsFind influences your leadership.

There are strengths I think I have; why didn’t they didn’t show up in my top 5?

For some people, their strengths ranked 5, 6 or 7 are almost even. You could also be misattributing a skill or behavior to a specific strength.

Learn more about how StrengthsFind influences your leadership.

Should I pay to see all 34 strengths?

Seeing your other 29 strengths can help give you a fuller picture. But initially, someone should focus on further developing those top 5 strengths rather than trying to give attention across the list. Once you have a good grasp on what it looks like to lead from your top 5, it can be helpful to explore the rest of the list.

Learn more about how StrengthsFind influences your leadership.

What’s the difference between a talent and a strength?

A talent is your natural way of thinking or behaving. A strength is a talent developed over time through knowledge, skills and practice.

Learn more about how StrengthsFinder influences your leadership.

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