What defines resilience? Well, the Collins English Dictionary states that to be resilient is to be ‘strong and not easily damaged by being hit, stretched or squeezed.’
Applying the term more directly to humans, the CED adds ‘people and things that are resilient are able to recover easily and quickly from unpleasant or damaging events.’
Surely these definitions could have been written in response to the mind-boggling saga that is 2020. We’ve all been ‘hit, stretched or squeezed’ in one way or another so far this year, although few would expect us to recover from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic quickly or easily.
In both our professional and personal lives, resilience is a highly prized attribute. But when the whole world has been put through the wringer, how do you build resilience at work while remaining compassionate to the hardships that so many people have experienced?
Building resilience in the workplace
The most effective way to help people become more resilient is to try to develop that quality as a team, rather than just as individuals. By sharing both triumphs and failures, and exploring the problems and opportunities these present together, team members can learn from one another in a positive way.
Allowing yourself to be vulnerable, by talking openly about mistakes or missteps, builds trust and connection between colleagues. Also, try to rid yourself of the idea that your response to change, no matter how unexpected or disruptive, must be flawless. By accepting that even the most ingenious initial solution can be imperfect as long as it’s constructive, you will start building the confidence needed to become more agile and creative when the chips are down.
Resilience is a skill
Like most things, resilience can be learned. For all the leaders reading this article, helping your teams to develop this valuable skill may be the smartest thing you’ll ever do for both them and your organisation.
Through a combination of good training and a work environment where mistakes are treated as learning opportunities, rather than forgettable failures, your employees will learn to see possibilities where once they saw problems.