Are You Flexible Enough? The 5 Types Of Flexilibity

Tímea Csízik
Coach | OD Consultant | Developer | HR Professional
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Sándor Sipos
Leadership Trainer | Life & Business Coach | OD & HR Developer | Creative Thinker
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Are you flexible enough?

You might find it hard to answer this question, because flexibility is not a one-dimensional feature. As much as it is a desired quality for most of us, it is also a complex phenomena, as the word ‘flexibility’ actually covers several separate skills.

Therefore, it is useful to break flexibility down into five different types to make self-assessment easier and provide a clearer self-knowledge. None of us is perfect in each of these categories but all of us can find our own personal strengths among them.

Creativity

Creativity is the cognitive aspect of flexibility. It means your mind is flexible enough to create something new and not yet existing (an idea, a solution, a product etc.) as a result of combining well-known things and information. It is important to emphasize that these new creations come from the combination of our previous experience, as

highly creative people tend to make extremely flexible associations between contents in their mind.

If you know yourself as somebody who often finds out original solutions and connects things that other people would have never associated, then creativity is probable among your strengths from the five types of flexibility.

Changing Perspectives

This is the perceptive aspect of flexibility. In this dimension flexibility refers to the ability of easily seeing a situation from different perspectives. This can be the perspective of others, that is why

this type of flexibility is the basis of empathy.

But having a flexible perception can also allow us to examine a situation from a new or unusual angle, that wouldn’t come to other people’s mind.

If you find it easy to understand other people’s point of view and like to examine a question from different angles before making a decision, this type of flexibility may be a strength of yours.

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Incorporating new inputs

We all have some kind of structure in our mind about the world: how things work, how they should or shouldn’t work, how they are connected, how they are grouped etc.

It’s not easy to incorporate new information about the world in our existing systems.

It’s even harder to rebuild our old structure using new inputs and create a system that integrates both our old and our newly acquired information about the world.

If you are flexible in incorporating new inputs that means you are able to accept and embrace change in your environment, relationships, workplace rules etc. and to integrate this change into your everyday life.

Accommodation

Accommodation refers to the behavioral aspect of flexibility. It means you are flexible enough to

alter your behavior in social situations in order to adapt to others and build your relationships.

If you find yourself easily accepting compromises in a conversation, you tend to find co-operative solutions instead of competing, you rarely hold on to your own opinion when it contradicts to others’ then this type of flexibility is probably one of your strengths.

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Emotional Flexibility

The emotional part of flexibility is a very important aspect that is often not even regarded as flexibility.

If somebody lacks this quality that can result in two types of radically different reactions to emotionally saturated situations.

Either s/he refuses to express any kind of emotions when showing feelings would be completely normal. Or s/he expresses polarized and extreme emotions when touched by a sensitive situation.

There are two signs of being emotionally flexible. First, you show emotional reactions that are adequate to the situation both in intensity and in quality. Second, your emotions are rarely extreme, and you always get your emotional stability back not long after a touching or upsetting situation.

How to use your self-awarness gained about your flexibility?

The reason why I recommend self-assessment of these five types of flexibility is that you are the only person who can discover which aspect is hard for you. These five aspects each refer to different inner processes and it is important to know which of your inner processes let you show or keep you from showing flexibility in your everyday life.

With that knowlegde, you will be able to…

improve in the dimensions you feel necessary,

accept your weaknesses in some of these dimensions and try to avoid situations that requires these types of flexibility,

make your strengths aware in order to know in what kind of situations you can show exceptional performance.

Now it’s your turn!

Take a few moments and assess yourself. What are your strengths and weaknesses among the five types of flexibility? You found out that you are not outstanding in all of these dimensions? Don’t worry, none of us are. But you don’t have to be perfect. There is a more realistic way.

In our next article we are going to examine how we can use our strengths in one type of flexibility to compensate our gaps in another.

Sign up our newsletter to not miss these tips in the next part! Until then, if you want to solve your daily problems in a more efficient and fun way, try our unique self-coaching application, Symblify – Life Made Simple.

Want to turn your self-awareness into tangible changes in your life? Are you interested in how to get more useful feedback? Read one of our previous articles below!
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Why not try something unexpected today? How about a self coaching app? Check out Symblify – Life Made Simple, the first self-coaching app that combines symbolic thinking and solutions focused coaching in a 20-minute coaching session >>>

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