How to Build Resilience in the Workplace

Oct 15 2021 | Insights
Woman frustrated at work.

Struggling to stay motivated? Worrying about being COVID exposed at work? Burnt out? Zoomed out? Stressed out? Ready to quit?

These thoughts are more common than you might realize, especially in higher stress environments in the workplace through the pandemic. How do you come back from these feelings or the bad days or bad situations that can happen as a result? 

Let’s discuss some of the ways that we feel you can improve your resilience and coping mechanisms at work.

Resilience means the ability to withstand adversity and bounce back despite what's thrown your way. It’s a great personal skill to develop, and it’s also becoming essential for businesses to cultivate through support and training because it is so beneficial. Resilient teams and leaders are the ones able to step up to the plate and take on the challenges that working life throws at them, adapting and pushing for future success. 

With that in mind, it's interesting to know that only 30% of employees are considered resilient. This is taken from a report by Aon, and the same report also showed that with the right employer support, levels of personal resilience can triple. So not only is resilience an essential skill, but individuals and leaders should be supported and encouraged in order to develop it.

Reducing The Risk of Burnout

In some ways, resilience is the opposite of burnout. Suffering from burnout is typically down to an individual constantly working hard and exhausting themselves physically and/or mentally. Resilience means you can continuously go to work, work hard, but avoid the sensation of burning out. A good work-life balance is essential to this; without it, you’ll easily feel too drained to carry on, leading to burnout. Leaders should encourage employees to do this too - implementing dedicated work-life balance programs has shown an increase in productivity across 85% of companies who tried it.

Adopt A Positive Mindset

Cheesy-sounding, but true! If you approach things with a positive outlook, there's more chance of success occurring. If you have a negative approach to setbacks, you’ll see every challenge as an additional source of stress, convincing yourself that you're going to keep failing. 

A positive mindset keeps you focused on the idea that you can overcome these challenges. You rationalize failures and seek to understand why they happened, so it’s easier to bounce back. We know that positive thinking reduces anxiety and can help focus. You can't be resilient if you constantly doubt yourself! This is a core part of leadership; setting a good example and responding to setbacks with positivity rather than negativity, reviewing what went well and how to improve further, rather than attacking people for missing targets.

Learn To Reflect

It's very easy to go through a tough period and let your failures get to you. But, you can either give up, or reflect usefully on what's happened. 

Take COVID-19 again: you might have looked back over 2020 and seen horrific figures for your business in terms of sales and turnover. Resilient individuals will look at this and think okay, why has this happened? What can we do to address this? 

The ability to reflect and re-evaluate is critical to building resilient individuals. Leaders can encourage this in the workplace through self-evaluations, allowing individuals to reflect on their own performance to develop actionable steps they can take to see longer term benefits.

Build Self-Confidence With Goals

It's impossible to be resilient if you aren't confident that you will achieve a positive outcome, and confidence comes from success. People with goals are ten times more successful than those without them. It feels good to hit a target or tick an item off your to-do list. And that way, when the going gets tough, you’ve already proven to yourself that you are a person who hits your goals— who’s to stop you from keeping the hot streak going?

The Recipe For Resilience

Be self aware - even for senior leaders, having a more resilient team starts with ensuring that you’re leading by example when it comes to reflection and positivity.

Set reasonable expectations - “above and beyond” is a great buzzword term, but you first and foremost need to ensure that the goals that you set for yourself, and your teams, are realistic, sensible and achievable.

Ask for help - an often-underplayed component of resilience is the ability to understand your own limitations and seek constructive feedback or other input when you need it. 

Get dedicated support - especially if you’re in a leadership role, or are aspiring towards one, getting an external viewpoint to help equip you with the tools to navigate challenging situations successfully can be invaluable to your development.

EZRA’s coaching programs work with individuals at all levels of a business to help embed the behaviors that lead to lasting change for greater long term success. We’ve redesigned leadership coaching for the modern age to help transform people through affordable, scalable and high-impact solutions, with equitable access through our world-class coaching app. Find out today how digital coaching could make a big difference to your career.

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