Building Resilience at Work
In today’s environment of constant change and uncertainty, success can depend upon the capacity to cope, adapt and even thrive when facing stress. Resilience, or “bounce-back”, is the ability to recover quickly from challenges. It is a skill which can be learned, developed and enhanced.
Resilience at work is crucial, as in today’s environment we are working longer hours and with the constant nature of technology, are regularly “switched on”. In addition, todays organisation can no longer guarantee a predictable career pathway, which can lead to uncertainty and stress. Strengthening resilience can help to avoid burnout as well as to improve performance and motivation.
What are some characteristics of resilience in a work setting?
Resilient employees build strong connections at work and communicate well with others to nurture relationships. They are more likely to help others to achieve success and create wins for their organisation, and to further develop their personal and professional networks. They are also more likely to actively engage regularly in wellness activities such as exercise, meditation or creative hobbies to reduce anxiety or burnout. Another characteristic of a resilient employee is authenticity and awareness of personal values and beliefs, helping them feel comfortable in bringing their “whole selves” to work.
How do you foster resilience as a leader?
Research has shown that the leaders of resilient teams have a tendency not to take themselves too seriously and bring an element of light-heartedness to the workplace., which further fosters positive emotions amongst their teams. Extra curricula activities amplify this approach and help to grow resilient teams. Organisations are increasingly finding ways to incorporate such activities into work life – examples include Team building events, social events, social clubs with shared interests, shared hobbies and sports. All of these examples can generate increased levels of openness and energy within teams as well as providing pathways for further individual development . Such team activities are very much aligned with inclusion as they are an opportunity for deeper engagement, collaboration and contribution from all members. As a result of the pandemic a rethink has been necessary to take such activities digital and successful implementation of this will play a big part in fostering company loyalty and culture in the future.
What do organisations look for to demonstrate resilience?
When hiring or considering employees for progression, employers might focus on having the ability to get back up again when things go wrong. They will often ask about failures, stresses, team issues and challenges faced and how they were successfully dealt with and what was learned from the experience.
How do you focus on developing personal resilience as part of your career plan?
Resilience can be developed over time by paying attention to these six key areas:
- Attitude – optimists are generally more resilient than pessimists, so check in with your attitude. Do you see a problem or an opportunity? Do you forget the successes and focus on the mistakes? A positive inner voice is key to resilience.
- Responses – be keenly aware of how you respond and know what triggers a stress response for you. Find techniques to deal with those responses and to help you manage your day.
- Commitment – resilient people are committed to what they do at work because they care about it. Be aware of what is important to you? Consider your goals and be prepared to try new strategies and develop new skills.
- Control – the first step with control is to understand what you can influence and what you can’t. Knowing the difference will allow you to focus your energy on the things that are most important and achievable.
- Relationships – relationships at work can make or break your day and consequently they can hugely affect your feelings of resilience. Strengthen them every day through positive communication and a willingness to ask for and to offer help.
- Health – to be resilient you need to take care of your physical and your mental health, walk more, take healthy snacks, cut back on caffeine, avoid gadgets late at night and build in time for rest and renewal.
Building resilience doesn’t just mean you can just cope better with stress, it means you perform better too. With a little self-awareness, an understanding what you can control and an acceptance of what you cannot, by taking part in activities to keep happy and healthy, you can nurture and grow your resilience.
By increasing your resilience, you can transform your career.
What can you do today to strengthen your resilience and that of those around you?