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Growing resilient – a manager’s plan

Mark Winwood

Half of Brits agree having a low level of resilience can adversely affect performance at work, with nearly two thirds wanting to be more resilient. From AXA PPP healthcare*. Dr Mark Winwood, Director of Psychological Services for AXA PPP healthcare.

Our ability to recover from setbacks and deal with change – also known as our resilience – is an essential capability for employees and managers to develop. Factors that help us strengthen our resilience include optimism; the ability to stay balanced and manage strong or difficult emotions; a sense of safety and a strong social support system.

Often line managers are exposed to increasing levels of stress but lack the “soft” skills to deal with pressure and build personal resilience. Bolstering your resilience is a smart move. It can give you an inner strength and confidence to deal successfully with the constant challenges and changes of modern working life.

Five point plan to boost resilience:
1. Work on your Emotional Intelligence – being able to identify and manage your own (and colleagues’) emotions can help you to build a well-functioning team. Well-honed interpersonal skills can aid being able to see things more objectively and understand and respect different views. In addition, recognising how you deal with pressure – and being open and talking about it – can help you prepare for stressful situations more effectively.

2. Stay energised – A good night’s sleep often requires daytime investment. So try taking a lunch break away from your workplace, enjoy a short brisk walk in daylight hours and stay hydrated, ensuring you curb caffeine intake in the afternoon and evening. These will help improve your levels of alertness during the day and quality of sleep when night draws.

3. Nurture relationships – having a solid support network of family, friends, or other people in business upon whom you can call can go a long way when you’re facing awkward or difficult situations. And, more broadly, team-based socialising can help to build a collaborative, supportive business culture that can give you and your employees confidence to embrace change.

4. Keep your perspective – Stepping back – both mentally and physically – from a challenging  situation at work can help you to identify and focus on what you have control over so you can set realistic goals rather than focus on things you can’t influence. As part of maintaining a healthy perspective, manage your work and home boundaries by, for example, leaving emails alone outside of working hours – and encouraging your team to do the same.

5. Prioritise and play to your strengths – having a clear sense of purpose for yourself and for your business is key to developing and maintaining a positive outlook. This includes understanding what matters to you most. Reflect on success and take time to think about your personal and business goals based on your values and strengths to see if there’s a way to develop your strengths further.

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