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The Sideline Blog

Just as sports players come to the sideline for rest and guidance, this blog is meant to provide you some insight and guidance as you explore your Strengths journey.

Gallup®, CliftonStrengths®, and the 34 theme names of CliftonStrengths® are 
trademarks of Gallup, Inc. All rights reserved.

  • Writer's pictureChad T. Ahern

Talent & Burnout: Adaptability®

"People exceptionally talented in the Adaptability theme prefer to go with the flow. They tend to be "now" people who take things as they come and discover the future one day at a time." - Gallup CliftonStrengths Themes Quick Reference Guide

Burnout Concerns

Leading team members with Adaptability can be a godsend in times of dramatic change. They possess amazing powers to flex their time, energy and focus. Yet you also need to be aware that they may start to:

Burnout if they are working to adapt their work to a changing world, but trying to do it within an organization or team that is,

  • Desperately trying to hold on to “how business used to operate

  • Not moving or adapting fast enough

Exhaust themselves if they are trying to adapt to too many initiatives all at once. This could be especially true when changing priorities occur at the same time and in direct conflict with each other. Remember that those on your team with Adaptability talents can be extremely accommodating "in the 'now'", but they aren't miracle workers.

Addressing Burnout

In response, you as a leader or colleague can work to minimize this burnout and exhaustion by,

  • Sharing information about what changes are coming as soon as you know. Even though those with Adaptability talents enjoy making changes in the moment, you'll make the process easier if they can see what's coming.

  • Engage those with Adaptability talents as “guinea pigs” to test changes being considered for the team or organization. They are more likely to flex easier and faster.

  • Helping help them prioritize which changes are most important. Similarly, help them understand where they can help others modify priority initiatives in the moment so get addressed first and on-the-fly.

  • Invite them to help you design contingency plans. Those with Adaptability talents are in their element when little-to-nothing goes to plan. By inviting them into the process, you enliven them by giving them things to fix, change, or restructure.

As with coaching any individual, their combined set of talent themes will effect how their Adaptability talents show up, and how to best manage them. As a beginning, next time you check-in with them, ask,

"What are you responding to right now...​and how can I help?"

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