Resilience at work is now recognised as a characteristic of employees who deal well with the stresses of the modern-day work.
What is Resilience?
Resilience is a person’s capacity to respond to the demands of their daily life. The dictionary defines resilience as: flexibility, durability, strength and speed of recovery. In other words, resilience is our ability to ‘bounce back’.
Resilience at Work
At work, resilient people are better able to deal with the demands placed upon them, changing priorities and large workloads.
It is not a passive quality, but an active process, as how we approach life has a massive impact on our experience.
Resilient people do more of the things that help maintain that responsiveness. It is relatively easy for those of us who are feeling less resilient to develop habits that will increase our ability to perform under pressure, and consequently live better.
“Why is it that some people thrive in the face of challenge and adversity at work, while others panic and withdraw into themselves? And why is it these same people who appear to get ahead while others tread water, or slowly drown in turbulent waters of life?
Most people think that a combination of intelligence, long working hours and lots of experience allows people to thrive in potentially hostile working environments. In fact, it is those with resilience who cope best with challenges like constant organisational change and upheaval, impending staff cutbacks, looming deadlines, argumentative meetings and incessant competition from business rivals.
The good news is that although some people seem to be born with more resilience than others, those whose resilience is lower can learn how to boost their ability to cope, thrive and flourish when the going gets tough.”
Centre for Confidence and Well-Being, 2006
How to develop resilience at work
The ability to cope well with pressure, adversity and uncertainty relies on developing behaviours, thoughts and actions. Anyone can learn these habits and create strategies to help increase resilience and hardiness.
Resiliency experts say that that people are helped by a particular pattern of attitudes and skills that helps them to survive and thrive under stress.
“Simply put, these attitudes are commitment, control, and challenge. As times get tough, if you hold these attitudes, you’ll believe that it is best to stay involved with the people and events around you (commitment) rather than to pull out, to keep trying to influence the outcomes in which you are involved (control) rather than to give up, and to try to discover how you can grow through the stress (challenge) rather than to bemoan your fate.”
Maddi and Khoshaba, 2006
Building and maintaining personal resilience
Resilience is ordinary, not extraordinary. For example, the response of many individuals after the London terrorist attacks showed individuals’ efforts to rebuild their lives. This demonstrate resiliency doesn’t necessarily mean that you have not suffered difficulty or distress. Developing resilience is a personal journey involving thoughts, behaviour and actions, as a result, anyone can do it.
9 Ways to build resilience at work:
Cherish social support & interaction
Relationships with family and friends and others are vital. Being active in the wider community also helps.
Treat problems as a learning process
Develop the habit of using challenges as opportunities to acquire or master skills and build achievement.
Avoid making a drama out of a crisis
Stress and change are part of life. How we interpret and respond to events has a big impact of how stressful we find them.
Celebrate your successes
Take time at the end of each day to review what went well and congratulate yourself. This trains the mind to look for success rather than dwelling on negativity and ‘failure’.
Develop realistic life goals for guidance and a sense of purpose
Do something each day to move towards them. Again, small is beautiful; one small step amid the chaos of a busy day will help.
Take positive action
Doing something in the face of adversity brings a sense of control, even if it doesn’t remove the difficulty.
Nuture a positive view of yourself
Developing confidence in your ability to solve problems and trusting your instincts helps to build resiliency.
Keep a realistic perspective
Place challenging or painful events in the broader context of lifelong personal development.
Nothing is either wholly good or bad. If we allow our thinking to dictate how we view something it will take over. Make your thinking work for your benefit, rather than letting it stymie you with doubt or by seeing only the bad side.
Finding other ways to build resilience
These are not the only ways to strengthen resilience at work. For instance, some people find keeping a journal useful, and practicing mindfulness or meditation helps to connect with themselves and restore a sense of purpose. On the other hand those with a religious conviction find prayer helpful.
In conclusion, the key is to identify ways that are likely to work well for you and above all work as part of your own personal strategy for fostering resilience at work.