5 Essential Traits for Flexibility and Versatility


Terry Kurzawa, President and CEO of The Wellington Group, Inc., specializes in executive coaching and group management. Terry has a master’s degree in psychological counseling from Rider University and is a certified behavior modification therapist. Today, she’s teaching a cohort of executive women in science, technology and engineering at From Specialist to Strategist, an all-female leadership program at Smith College.

Here is what she says are the 5 essential traits for flexibility. Flexibility is the willingness to change our position and perspective when appropriate in dealing with others.

  1. Confidence: believing and trusting yourself
  2. Tolerance: being open to different opinions
  3. Empathy: acknowledging the feelings of others without agreeing with them
  4. Positiveness: maintaining optimism about people and situations
  5. Respect for Others: treating people the way they want to be treated

And here are the 5 essential traits of versatility. Versatility is the ability to deal with others in a way that makes us feeling better about them, because of the way we behaved.

  1. Resilience: coping in spite of setbacks, barriers or limited resources
  2. Vision: seeing desired outcomes and how to reach them
  3. Attentiveness: being aware of what is going on in your environment
  4. Competence: problem solving capability
  5. Self-correction: accepting feedback and initiating change as needed

Both flexibility and versatility are social behaviors that will help us become more effective in our communications.

If you want to learn more about social styles at work, read People Styles at Work and Beyond by Robert Bolton and Dorothy Grover Bolton

About Smith College Executive Education

Smith's signature all-female learning environment ignites the power of women and provides an exceptional networking forum where participants share insights and perspectives with a cohort of talented and high-powered peers.
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