Resilience is like a muscle. Whilst some may have a natural proclivity for it, there is no fixed limit on our own resilience. The more you ‘work out’ your resilience and put it to the test, the stronger and more developed it will be in time.
Right now, resilience is more important than ever. With the impact of COVID-19 sure to be felt for some time, there are challenges every day for business leaders and managers to contend with. Knowing how to deal with these challenges effectively can separate a good manager from a great one.
For HR managers, it will be important to create development opportunities for individuals and teams to hone and sharpen that all-important resilience. This will be crucial, not only when it comes to supporting staff in managing challenging times ahead, but also for retaining and attracting top talent to future-proof your organisation.
With this in mind, here are my tips on how managers and leaders can reap the benefits of becoming resilient.
Faced with a challenge? Always look for the advantage in the situation
Throughout my life I have met many obstacles and stumbling blocks – but I always lived by the motto, ‘don’t get bitter, get better’. I ask myself: how can I use this experience as one of learning, rather than one of disappointment?
When my career in business began to take off, the resilience I had built up from my childhood and adolescence certainly allowed me to remain flexible and adaptable in the workplace. But by no means was I the ‘finished article’ in this respect. To me, the essence of resilience is understanding that life is and always will be full of challenges, and that we need to remain open to change and tackle these problems head on.
We cannot always control our circumstances, but we can control our actions. With each problem that would come my way, I would look for solutions that would enable me to seek an advantage, rather than just attempting to eliminate the problem.
Champion diversity in the face of adversity
For me, diversity is one of the most valuable attributes a team can have when facing a crisis scenario. The mixture of experiences, backgrounds, opinions and skillsets are an invaluable resource when searching for creative solutions. To this day I continue to learn new things from the people in my team and will always consider myself a student as well as a teacher. I try to pass that message on to everyone I work with, with the phrase – “ABC, Always Be Curious!” Whether through formal training programmes or on-the-job experiences, no-one is ever the complete finished product and I’m a true advocate of the idea that we should never stop learning.
The importance of an authentic purpose
The key driver behind my resilience is my purpose. Having a defined goal or reason for doing what you do means that even in the toughest times, when it feels like the world is against you, there is a reason to keep moving forward. This is vital not only for individual managers and leaders, but for entire businesses too.
Much has been said about brands having a purpose in recent times, with research finding that 82% of staff believe organisations with strong brand purpose will experience greater success than those without. Having an authentic purpose not only gives your brand a personality and relatability to your customer base, it also keeps staff aligned with a common goal.
What’s more, when teams are faced with challenges in the workplace, I believe prioritising connection over correction is the way forward. This means that, rather than having senior people on board to step in and take responsibility when things go wrong, you encourage your staff to take an active role in the resolution process. With this powerful purpose and level of responsibility given to your employees, resilience can begin to grow through your whole team, rather than just one department.
How can managers and leaders build resilience?
Building resilience comes down to effectively managing change and finding solutions to new challenges presented by the changing world around us. For managers and leaders looking to flex their resilience muscle, key skills in good communication, people management and problem solving can all work together to build this feeling of agility and strength. Sometimes a crisis provides a perfect opportunity to sharpen these skills, but effective training and development opportunities are essential in facilitating this. For HR managers, upskilling individuals and teams in these areas can help empower employees and strengthen the organisation as a whole.