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Resilience in the Workplace

Resilience seems to be on the lips of Leadership Consultants around the world as many people in this day and age seem to lack the ability to cope with change or adversity.

Many organisations have popped up recently to tackle this global problem and one of them is The Resilience Project founded by Hugh van Cuylenburg.

They report that 1 in 4 adolescents have a mental illness, 1 in 7 primary school kids have a mental illness, 1 in 5 adults have a mental illness and 65% of adolescents do not seek help for mental illness. This problem is massive, its global and it obviously has a huge impact on Workplaces around the world through absenteeism and lost productivity.

So, what is resilience? It has many definitions but it is really about the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; or it can even be referred to as “toughness”. But how can we all become more resilient and more importantly for employers how can you help your employees to be more resilient?

There is a lot of literature out there on how to become more resilient and most of this theory revolves around a few areas.  The Resilience Project believes that increasing resilience is around practicing the following:

  • Gratitude
  • Mindfulness; and
  • Empathy

So how can organisations that are typically founded on the basis of instant results, competitiveness and a lack of tolerance for mistakes or emotional displays help employees to be more resilient? Here are our top tips for all you Business Owners out there:

  1. Hold weekly one on ones with your teams that focus on wins (gratitude), challenges and top priorities.
  2. Consider creating a space for employees to have time out, start meetings with meditation and offer yoga at lunchtime!
  3. Create a workplace environment that allows people to make mistakes. Often, we learn most from our biggest blunders not our biggest wins, so allowing employees to stuff up but reflecting on the learnings will obviously create a culture where people can grow and learn in a safe space without fear of ridicule or punishment.
  4. Be prepared to deal with people’s emotions! We are taught unknowingly that it is not ok to cry at work and that emotional responses are a sign of weakness. Great managers not only show their own emotions but are ok when employees have a teary at work. We are all human and releasing your emotions is necessary in order to remain in a positive state. So don’t run away or freak out next time someone becomes emotional at work. Try taking them aside and having a chat about why they are reacting in the way they are.
  5. Be prepared to pay for a coach or a counsellor if one of your employees is suffering from a mental illness or having personal difficulties. Most people will respond really well to professional help and be very grateful for your investment in them.
  6. Following on from the above, be more empathetic to employees when they are having personal problems (we all have them so make sure you are prepared to deal with whatever happens in a person’s life, it maybe a divorce or a traumatic event so you are better off trying to help them work through this rather than getting annoyed or angry if their performance drops)

Remember people work for people, so if you are the type of leader who gives praise regularly, focuses on the positives and creates a space for people to be human people are going to want to work for you, and are probably going to go the extra mile too!

If you need help with coaching your employees or if one of your employees is having personal problems and you are not sure what to do then give HR gurus a call.

Written by Head Guru Emily Jaksch.

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