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Leadership

Leaders Can Build Their Team's Resilience by Getting Specific

Leaders Can Build Their Team's Resilience by Getting Specific

In addition to transparently exposing our teams to tough realities, we develop resilience in our team members when we get specific about what suffering means for them. 


They looked at people who experienced changes at work related to Covid-19 to prove this.

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The Leader's Role in Building Workplace Resilience

"Humans do not function well when our senior leaders gloss over the reality. We don’t need them to sugarcoat in order to make us feel better. It won’t. It is far more frightening, and damaging to the psyche, to downplay tough or dark realities, or to pretend they don’t exist, because then we allow our imaginations to run riot, and who knows what kind of demons we can conjure in our mind’s eye.” - Marcus Buckingham

The ADP Research Institute’s research revealed two main drivers of resilience which are:

  1. Resilience is a reactive state of mind created by exposure to suffering.
  2. The more tangible the threat, the more resilient we become.

"Show us up close and personal what real-world changes we will have to make in our lives, and tell us the truth about how these changes are designed to protect us. Show us in practice what our ‘new normal’ is and why, and then trust us to figure out how to live happily and healthily inside this new normal.” - Marcus Buckingham

Leaders Can Build Workplace Resilience by Exposing Their Team to Suffering

Buckingham says resilience levels increase the more intimately exposed your team members are to suffering. They looked at people who had personal connections affected by Covid-19 to prove this.

“Instead of downplaying the reality, tell it to us straight. Don’t rush us back to normal in an effort to assuage our fear and anxiety. Instead, describe in detail what the threat actually is." - Marcus Buckingham

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The journey through suffering

The five stages of grief are described as anger, bargaining, denial, depression, and acceptance. Yet, when a tragedy strike, we already know how bad things are. What is most needed is hope.

Suffering as part of life

We live in an age where many feel that they are entitled to a perfect life. But at some stage, everyone will face a tragedy.

When tough times do come, resilient people seem to recognize that suffering is part of every human life. Understanding this stops you from feeling discriminated against when trouble comes.

Resilient people typically manage to focus on the things they can change and accept the things they can't.

Don't get swallowed up by your troubles. Don't lose what you still have to what you have lost.

When you go through a difficult time, you might need a reminder to be grateful.

Try to find the things you can be grateful for. Tune in to what's good in your world.

Ask yourself if what you are doing is helping you or hurting you. 

Ask: “Is the way I’m thinking and acting helping me or harming me in my bid to get that promotion? To pass that exam? To recover from a heart attack?”

Resilience is not a fixed or elusive trait that only some people have. It requires the willingness to try basic strategies.

It won't remove all the pain, but it can help to understand that it is possible to live and grieve at the same time.

Mental resilience

Resilience is the ability to walk through bad experiences.

It generally means adapting well in the face of chronic or acute adversity.

  • Psychological flexibility gives us the ability to shift perspectives and actions when we’re experiencing discomfort or difficulty without feeling overwhelmed.
  • Psychological flexibility means not avoiding difficult emotions, but accepting them as part of life.
  • Psychological flexibility also means prioritizing what matters to you and concentrating of what is within your control, to reach your goals.

There are three elements you can focus on:

  • Developing a set of coping mechanisms
  • Nurturing the psychological flexibility to accept difficult emotions and knowing how and when to deploy your various coping strategies
  • Being mindful of your values, so that you can continue to live a meaningful life in the face of adversity.
Emotional Resilience

This is the ability to handle a stressful event or experience without destroying one’s resolve, sense of purpose, or sanity.

An emotionally resilient person can channelize and metabolize negative feelings instead of being overwhelmed or paralyzed by them. One does not have to wait for dire circumstances to practise emotional resilience, and a few daily rituals are sufficient to build our sense of balance and help us achieve more in life while boosting our mental health and immunity.

Reflective journaling as a daily practice helps us improve our emotional stamina.

Writing down our experiences leads to new insights and a deeper understanding of our behaviour and actions. Writing down your failures and successes also helps us self-analyze our life in an objective, detached way. One can choose a pen and paper or digital format to write and make it a point to write when one experiences highs and lows in life.

We have to take care not to damage our self-esteem and our sense of self-worth by being judgemental about ourselves.

Embracing one’s imperfect moments with kindness and grace, makes us see the positive aspects of the situation and helps us learn from our mistakes. Meditation and certain thought exercises that steer our mind towards positivity, help us in being compassionate towards ourselves.

  • Resilience and gratitude have a connection at the neurotransmitter level our of brains.
  • Happiness chemicals like serotonin and dopamine are released as we express gratitude, lighting up the two areas of our brain called the amygdala and hippocampus, which regulate our emotions and memory.
  • A daily gratitude practise helps us feel content and even meditative, living life in a deeper dimension, filling our days with balance and perspective.

Though it is not a practice, hope helps us cope with our day-to-day stresses, letting us find joy in the things that are going right, or shifting our focus to something bigger than ourselves.

Being close to nature, and spending time doing something one loves, or with someone special, help us find our joy and hope, taking the sting out of the (inevitable) sufferings of life.

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