In today’s relentlessly competitive and rapidly changing business landscape, organizations invest extensively in ensuring that they have the foundation, infrastructure, policies, strategies and vision in place to handle significant setbacks; both those that are anticipated, and those that are not. As history has shown repeatedly, an abundance of customers, capital and competitive advantage cannot compensate for a lack of organizational resilience.
In the same light, workers need to ensure that they, too, are resilient — otherwise instead of adjusting and adapting to changing circumstances (including those that ultimately may prove to be positive and welcome), they put themselves on the road to frustration, disengagement, burnout, and in severe but not uncommon cases: to a career dead end.
Charles Popov, a certified nutritional counselor, claims that in the workplace, we tend to admire and applaud those who have the most knowledge, talent, charisma, and other qualities that help them stand out from the crowd for all of the right reasons. However, what truly sets out top performers from the pack is not necessarily what they know, what they do, or how they do it. Rather, it is that they have the capacity to bounce back from setbacks and ultimately elevate to a higher level.
Admittedly, some people are born with a natural ability for resilience; we can often spot these remarkable individuals in early childhood: while their siblings, friends and classmates shrink back from everyday challenges and obstacles, they lean forward — often finding themselves thrust into leadership positions. However, and fortunately for the vast majority of people, the quality of resiliency is not coded in DNA or rooted in biology. It is available to virtually anyone who is willing to cultivate this characteristic.
To that end, according to Charles Popov here are three ways that workers — whether they are interns starting their first day on the job, or seasoned professionals with decades of experience — can boost their resilience:
Build High Quality Relationships
A core way to boost resiliency at work is by building high quality relationships across the business landscape (within and beyond one’s specific organization). Once in place, the people in this valuable network can be relied on to provide insight, guidance, answers, support, and in some cases, warnings.
Charles Popov claims: at the same time, people who tap into their professional network for support need to respond in-kind and make themselves available when called upon. It’s a two-way street.
Mindfulness enables workers to avoid instinctively reacting (i.e. “fight or flight”) to what is, or appears to be, an adverse event — such as a difficult customer, dysfunctional co-worker or demanding boss — and empowers them to make decisions and take actions that mitigate problems and maximize rewards.
Mindfulness requires ongoing practice and commitment, which can be facilitated by a growing number of excellent books and online courses.
At first glance developing compassion may seem like a “nice-to-have” skill, but certainly not essential when it comes to building resilience in the workplace. However, this is not the case. Research has revealed that greater compassion is associated with more positive workplace relationships, and it also enhances collaboration and cooperation — all of which are essential items in the resilience toolkit.
Charles J. Popov comments: Many times, being resilient means working cooperatively with others to solve problems and implement solutions. Compassion helps bring people together and align them under the umbrella of a shared purpose. Compassion can also turn foes into friends.
The Bottom Line
Cultivating resilience is an ongoing commitment; like being healthy or achieving work-life balance. There are good days — and indeed, there may be difficult days. The key is to keep moving forward and using setbacks as learning opportunities. According to Charles Popov: Resilience, once established, opens the door to a whole new kind of experience at work, at home, in the community, and everywhere. Those who authentically strive to become more resilient find their efforts well rewarded.