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How to Be an Adaptable Leader and Use Change to Your Advantage How do you maintain your relevance and stay adaptable in today's ever-changing environment? Become a better leader by learning how to efficiently adapt to change.

By John Kitchens Edited by Chelsea Brown

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Leadership in today's society now requires a different set of skills than it did in the past. It is undeniable that social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Tiktok have dominated and changed the way we compete in the business landscape. With a sea of competitors, it now matters how we present ourselves online and how we create experiences that are attractive to our clients.

Although some leadership skills and qualities remain the same, refusing to adapt to the current norm will make it difficult for a leader to stay in the game. But how do we adapt to change in this fast-paced digital world? How do we keep up and stay relevant as a leader?

Related: 3 Things You Need to Know About Adapting to Succeed In the Business World

Practice mindfulness

Adapting to change can become a difficult hurdle for any leader trying to keep up with the competition. The pace of the changes can be very overwhelming, especially for those who are not used to it. Many people can get swallowed by the speed of change, paralyzing them into inaction. The inability to adapt to these changes may cause your business to suffer and may even put you in a worse situation. As a leader, you must learn to be comfortable with change and cultivate a sense of mindfulness.

Mindfulness is the ability to be present, instead of getting lost and overwhelmed about the past or the future. Practicing mindfulness will help you be more present and aware of your surroundings. The more you are aware, the better you can assess the current situation and create solutions to problems brought to you by change. Do not be paralyzed by the noise — focus on your goals, and be adaptable. Successful leaders always keep their eye on the prize and do not give up when things get tough. Remember, the game plan may have changed, but the goal will always be the same.

Focus on things that matter

One of the most common reasons why a leader can't adapt to change is because they are trying to control everything. Change in the market will always happen, and we will never be able to control it. As effective leaders, we must keep in mind that the only thing we can control is how we respond to it. We need to focus on the right things in order to create a positive reaction to change. We must learn how to separate the noise from what actually matters. Prioritize things that you can control and stop wasting your time on things that you can't. This will give you a clearer perspective on what you need to be doing in order to accommodate the changes that are happening.

Once you shift your focus and pour your resources into things that will create the biggest impact, you can adapt quickly and efficiently. And if done right, you can take advantage of the opportunities that come along with the changes.

Related: Learning to Adapt Is the Key to Success

Develop your emotional intelligence

No matter how much you plan or how prepared you are, there will always be obstacles and challenges along the way. As a leader, you will need to have emotional intelligence in order to deal with these challenges in a constructive way. Emotional Intelligence is the ability to understand and manage your emotions and the emotions of the people around you. People with a high degree of emotional intelligence know what they're feeling, what their emotions mean and how these emotions can affect other people.

Leaders who can control their emotions tend to be more level-headed and adaptable. They are able to take a step back, assess the situation and develop an effective plan of action. On the other hand, leaders who cannot control their emotions tend to make rash decisions that can lead to disastrous consequences.

If you want to be a successful leader in these changing times, it is important that you develop your emotional intelligence. Learn how to control your emotions and use them to your advantage.

Empower yourself

When we talk about how we adapt to change, we tend to only look at the possible problems and completely forget ourselves in the process. What are we doing to prepare for these changes? Are we continuously learning and updating our skills? Are we staying ahead of the curve? As a leader, you cannot just sit and wait for things to happen, you must be able to overcome these changes whenever they may hit you. It is important to put in the work and brace yourself for the future. This does not only refer to your professional life but also in all aspects of your life — in your personal relationships, mental and physical health and in every decision that you make.

Remember that the pack only runs as fast as the leader, and you will not be able to lead effectively if you are not in the best shape possible. What are you doing to make yourself strong physically, mentally and spiritually? What are you doing to maintain your level of happiness? Remember to be kind to yourself, and never hesitate to invest in things that will help you grow as a person. This way, you will be able to lead with a clear mind and a positive attitude, two things that are essential in adapting to change.

Related: Why Resisting Change Will Only Hurt Your Business

The way the world works today will not be the same tomorrow. If we want to stay ahead, we need to continuously adapt and change the way we do things. Leaders play a vital role in this process as they are the ones who set the example for their team. And if we refuse to bend to these changes, we can only break. So, remember to embrace change and use it to your advantage.

It is not the strongest of the species that survives, not the most intelligent that survives.

It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.

― Charles Darwin

John Kitchens

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

CEO of John Kitchens Coach

John Kitchens is the most sought-after systems and processes coach for real-estate agents that want to turn their real-estate practice into a business. He is an expert in identifying constraints and honing strategies that lead to clarity and success. www.johnkitchens.coach

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