Resilience has been defined as the ability to deal with high levels of challenge while maintaining and/or recovering well-being and performance. Building resilience takes time and resources. Why would you, or your organization, want to make the investment in becoming more resilient? I have six answers–three for individuals, and three for organizations:
For individuals:
Here are three benefits to intentionally building your resilience.
1. Minimizing harm. When bad things happen, you can’t always get through them unscathed. Illness, abuse, job loss, divorce, and other negative events can leave a lasting mark. But the skills and tools of resilience–things like calming yourself, deciding which battles to fight, and effectively solving problems–can help you keep a bad situation from getting worse. You might be alive instead of dead, scarred rather than broken, or in debt rather than homeless. Those may not always look like victories, but they are.
2. Staying—or getting back—on track. Life’s challenges can knock you off the path to the goals that are most important to you, like getting an education, protecting your family, expressing your creativity, earning a living, or even winning the big game. When you are thrown off course, you can use your resilience to help you absorb the blow, get back on your feet, and get back in the game.
3. Learning and growing. Sometimes our greatest challenges are our greatest teachers. When you have experienced pain and loss, you often develop insights about yourself and others that help you demonstrate greater empathy, see situations from a broader perspective, and use what you have learned to help others. Cancer survivors, victims of domestic violence, and many others have used adversity to help them become stronger and wiser and to find ways to give back to the world.
For organizations:
Here are three benefits to intentionally building your resilience.
1. Gaining competitive advantage. An organization that has resilient people surrounded by leaders, values, and culture that support effective responses to change is able to implement its critical changes more efficiently and effectively. People tend to be engaged in learning new ways to do things rather than struggling and fighting against them. This can support innovation and new processes and practices that will put you ahead of the competition.
2. Reducing unproductive behavior. The costs of absenteeism, turnover, errors, confusion, and other forms of reduced productivity can be quite high. Many of these outcomes are a result of people feeling overloaded and overwhelmed. When people are able to recognize and manage their own responses to disruption and adversity, they benefit personally by feeling better and being more productive, and the organization benefits as well.
3. Giving employees a valuable benefit. Most people have challenges outside the workplace that can affect their lives every bit as much as the ones they encounter at the office. Problems with children or aging parents, health issues, stress from going back to school, moving, or preparing for a big personal challenge like running a marathon…all of these can affect employee well-being. When people learn how to increase their own resilience at work, they can apply the same skills and concepts to the challenges they face at home. Even when the results are not directly seen at work, employees will recognize the value they have gained.
If you’d like to learn more about how to develop your own resilience, check out Prosilience. If you’d like to learn more about developing your organization’s resilience, let’s talk!