Have you ever known anyone who seems to sail through rough times? Whether they experience job loss, financial set-backs, or health issues, they seem to bounce back easily. What is it that sets these people apart? In a word – resilience.
Today, more than ever, resilience is needed in the workplace. The one constant is change. Today, we’re experiencing on-going change in the workplace – from budget cuts, downsizing, reorganizations, to new technology and new leadership. As a result, employees need to take on new responsibility — sometimes what once was the job of 2 or 3 people – learn new skills, and do more with less.
In order to not only survive, but thrive in today’s workplace, employees need to be resilient. Resilience is the ability to cope with stress and crisis, and rebound quickly.
Here are characteristics of resilient people. Review this list to see how resilient you are.
- Copes well with high levels on on-going, disruptive change.
- Sustains good health and energy when under constant pressure.
- Able to change to a new way of working when the old way is no longer possible. Adapts to new technology, new processes, etc.
- Doesn’t fall apart during crisis, able to cope with adversity, and bounce back easily from setbacks (sometimes coming back even stronger).
- Has a learning/coping reaction rather than a victim/blaming reaction. Rather than become victimized, asks herself, “How can I best cope with this situation?” and “What can I learn from this situation?” As a result learns valuable lessons from her tough experiences.
Although some people are naturally more resilient than others, resilience can also be learned. For more information, listen to the audio CD Managing Workplace Stress.
Stress and change are a given in today’s workplace. In fact, employees are experiencing on-going change. They’re asked to take on new responsibilities, learn new skills, and do more with less. Many workers today have bigger workloads requiring more and more hours.
Highly resilient workers have stress-resistant personalities. They are able to manage the day-to-day stressors, and also cope well with high levels of on-going, disruptive change.
How stress-hardy are you? Here are five attitudes of resilient people. Review these characteristics to see how stress-hardy you are.
A strong sense of purpose. Resilient people have a strong sense of purpose and meaning for why they are doing what they’re doing. They are guided by a vision that gives meaning to their work and lives.
A healthy sense of control. The emphasis is on “personal control”. Stress-hardy people focus their energy on those events that they have influence over, rather than situations beyond their control. They accept circumstances that cannot be changed. Entrepreneur, Tim Baumgartner, an independent sales rep who sold electronics to Circuit City, was blind-sided when the company filed for bankruptcy. Within months, however, he launched an online consumer electronics store. “Whining and complaining about how you find yourself here doesn’t help,” Baumgartner says. “I’ve refocused my energy on the start-up.”
See change as a challenge or opportunity. Resilient people tend to see change as a challenge to confront and overcome, rather than an unbearable problem or a stress to avoid. They also see change as an opportunity for self-reflection, learning and growth.
Optimistic. Maintain a hopeful outlook, expecting good things to happen. People with an optimistic outlook do better at managing stress and chaos. When you catch yourself thinking negatively, challenge yourself to reframe the situation more positively.
Have a good sense of humor. Research shows that humor can lessen the impact of stress. Stress-hardy people are playful and curious. They find the humor in rough situations, and can laugh at themselves.
By developing these attitudes you can become more stress-hardy, which will not only help you survive, but thrive, in today’s workplace.
To learn more about managing stress, listen to Managing Workplace Stress CD.