Studies have found that more resilient people are higher performers and respond better to change. They are more motivated, build better working relationships and are less likely to take time off sick or suffer from low morale.
Crucially, people with high levels of resilience have ways to protect themselves from stress. The hormones released into our bodies when we are stressed impact not just on our immune systems, making us more susceptible to illness, but on our thinking and emotions, potentially affecting the decisions we make.
For some people resilience means being ‘hard’ and impervious to difficulties, carrying on without being affected by anything that’s thrown at you. For others it is being able to ‘bounce back’ after a difficult experience. Resilience is our ability to learn from our experiences and put that learning into practice until it becomes second nature. If we understand what affects our resilience negatively, for example, not getting enough sleep or regularly arguing with someone at work, we are in a position to do something about it.
Research into leadership resilience indicates that there are some key capabilities that underpin resilience. It follows that we can influence how resilient we are by developing behaviours that strengthen these capabilities. The ability to stand back from events that cause us difficulty and reframe them more positively is an important capability. To ask ourselves questions such as, “What do others think about this situation? How will it look in a year’s time? What is really important here?”
When faced with a problem we often only see our own immediate perspective and react accordingly. This limits our options for problem solving.
Something else we can do is effectively manage our workload. Frequently people take on more than they can manage and this depletes their energy. The research also shows that resilient people effectively manage their workload and are better at avoiding becoming overwhelmed. As a result, they have sufficient time both to think and act. They are good at planning and structuring their work and are able to say no when they need to. They prioritise based on an understanding of what is important and essential to deliver well. A lack of these basic work skills is often at the heart of poor resilience.
Everyone’s resilience varies over time. The greater the number and toughness of the challenges we face, the more we use up energy and risk becoming less resilient. To deal with this we need to ensure our energy is continually renewed.
Futureproof Training provide a range of resilience support options for employees at all levels across an organisation, please get in touch if you want to discuss things in more detail.
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