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Resilience in the Workplace

Lucy, how would you describe resilience in the workplace? What are some characteristics of a resilient employee?

Resilience in the workplace is our ability to not only push through challenges and setbacks but bounce back stronger, wiser and more personally powerful than before. Resilience is a muscle, it’s a skill we must work on every single day to make stronger. We are not born resilient or non-resilient people but simply grow our resilience.

While resilience can look different for everyone, there have been many studies into the characteristics that unite resilient people, and the Conor Davidson Resilience Scale found these to include;

  • Having an internal locus of control: taking responsibility for how you react to things at work and ultimately the outcome you deliver

  • Strong self-esteem: believing in yourself and your abilities to get the job done

  • Have personal goals: resilient people are #goalgetters! Setting your eyes on delivering amazing feats, both in and out of the workplace, is key to flexing your resilience muscle

  • Using past successes to confront current challenges: leveraging previous examples of times you felt challenged but were able to deliver the positive outcome ultimately is a powerful way of building your confidence, self-belief and ultimately, resilience.

  • Action-oriented: resilient people move towards challenges, not away from them. Doing something big or small in the face of adversity brings a sense of control, even if it doesn’t remove the difficulty. Control breeds confidence.

Why is resilience in the workplace so important?

The modern workplace is changing at a rapid pace. Day-to-day we experience new ways of working, new technologies, changing priorities and a growing workload.

Resilience is what we need to draw on to ensure we deliver the best outcomes while looking after our overall health and wellbeing during times of change and uncertainty. It is a critical differentiator between those who survive, and those who thrive, in the changing workplace.

What programs or processes do Thrive have in place to help its staff feel more resilient?

As an agency Thrive is incredibly supportive of initiatives that support the overall health and wellbeing of its team members.

Sharing of small wins: At Thrive we celebrate achievements throughout the campaign process and not just at the end. We share ‘small wins’ in our weekly WIP and reflect on the hard work, bravery, and tenacity of the team while often in the thick of a challenge!

Team approach: We’re big believers in the age-old saying “a problem shared is a problem halved.” At Thrive we encourage the team to share their challenges with one another and ask for help. This may mean asking for support on a tricky strategy, a challenging pitch or simply to get clear on priorities so that the week is set up for success.

Rewards for resilience: Thrivers nominate peers who exude the agency values of agility, being results focused and persistent, and our five offices recognise their efforts with a presentation and shopping voucher reward (yes please!). More often than not, Thrivers are nominated for their attitude during times of challenge and uncertainty rather than times of ease.

What are a few tips that staff can apply today?

Take action: Think about what you can do today to move towards the challenge. This may be as simple as writing a To Do list, asking for help or blocking out time to devise a plan of attack.

Banish your inner critic: When we are faced with a struggle or challenge we often fuel ourselves with unhelpful self-talk. “I can’t do this. I’m not smart enough / experienced enough / quick enough etc.” Challenge the words you’re saying to yourself with a simple daily mantra “I am strong, I am capable, and I am in control” and try to speak to yourself in the same way you would a colleague.

Maintain perspective: Remember that, “this too shall pass.” Draw on past experiences that have shown you can do it (I like to call these your “resilience anchors”) and know that you will get through this. The challenges you face today are likely to not even factor on your radar in a month’s time.

Lucy Allen, Business Director, Thrive

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