How to Build Resilience at Work

‘Workplace resilience’ is a phrase and philosophy that is becoming increasingly present around our lives at work. The increasing prominence of this idea is great news, as employers are becoming more aware of the importance of employee wellbeing.

Resilience is fast becoming an extremely desirable characteristic. The reason for this is that it refers to a person’s ability to deal with stress and high-pressure situations in a level headed and positive way. Essentially, a person who practices resilience tends to have greater flexibility, durability and buoyancy; an all-round proclivity for ‘bouncing back’.


Why Develop Resilience Techniques?

You may have been duped into believing that some people simply ‘are’ more resilient than others; that it is genetic, hereditary or habitual… that resilience comes naturally. This is very much not the case. Workplace resilience is within reach for us all, all it takes is practice and an openness to the idea of self-reflection.

The workplace, even if it is a job that you love, can be a an extremely stressful environment sometimes. Fast changing plans, daunting workloads, time pressures, high-stakes situations or dysfunctional relationships; these are all common occurrences, and, if responded to in an unhealthy way, these can lead to a very run-down and unhappy individual.

The practice of resilience not only helps you to cope as an individual, but also effects the atmosphere of your workplace and your relationships with your colleagues in an undoubtedly positive way. Happy workers mean a happy workforce, greater productivity and, perhaps most importantly, a much greater quality of life both inside and outside working hours.

Simple Steps to Build Workplace Resilience

So, how on Earth does one go about practicing resilience? There are many, many ways to harness it; some changes are big and some small (not so daunting). These steps are a great way to begin to invite resilience into your life. They should help you to grow into a happier, more confident and more robust professional.

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(1) Community

Good relationships are vital to giving you a strong foundation. Not only is it important to have strong relationships within all the areas of your life, but it is essential that you take time to really cherish and nurture those relationships. Make the effort, go that extra inch for the important people in your life. It might be as simple as offering your colleague a cup of tea or making a conscious effort to really listen next time you ask someone how they are. Not only do these little things add up to a strong friendship for both people involved, it also means you have someone to vent to when your day has been a little tough. And be assured, venting to a safe party is extremely important; built up pressure is no good to anyone!

(2) Learn from Mistakes

Mistakes are vital for growth and should not be feared, ignored or covered up. If you do make a mistake you must make a conscious effort to use it as a positive; as an opportunity to learn. When we make mistakes, it is very easy to become defensive or to wallow in pity for ourselves; this negativity is not necessary. Use your mistakes as a springboard into greater success.

(3) Focus on Positives

Many of us have this odd habit. We might have ninety-nine successes in a day and one failure… what part of the day do we tend to focus on? You got it… the failure. So often we can let that 1% define us. Flip that on its head. When you get to the end of your day, consciously take a few moments to think about all the great stuff you did that day… that’s the stuff that is truly important.

(4) Avoid Drama

If there is a fire at work, don’t add fuel! Often, when a situation flares up at work, it will either spiral out of control, or resolve satisfactorily, based on our reaction. What tricky circumstances do not require is extra drama. So, if such a time springs itself on you, take a deep breath and just take a second to consider what the most useful reaction would be; both for you and the other parties involved.

(5) Trust and Conviction in Yourself

This harks back to the point about letting the odd mistake define your mood. Each time you wallow in a mistake, you add a drop of doubt into your perception of your own abilities. Self-trust, boldness and conviction are qualities that lead to success and resilience. These, again, are not things that necessarily come naturally, you must make a conscious decision to be bold, or decisive, or trusting… these might seem unnatural to begin with, but exercise them often enough and they will eventually become part of your process. This also plays into the building of positive relationships; if you are seen to be on the front foot, and resilient, this will not only endear colleagues to you and your ethic, it will also inspire them to do the same.

(6) Half Full

Optimism and positivity must not be underrated. Even if you do not feel that these come naturally to you, you must try and think in this way anyway. Again, faux optimism will feel odd and artificial to begin with, but once you see the effects of decisive positivity, you will be inspired to continue.

What next?

You do not need to take on all of these ideas at once, just one or two of them will be enough to set you well on you way up the path to optimum workplace resilience. And indeed, these are just a few of the many ways in which you can practice the idea.

We hope that you find many more amazing ways to harness workplace resilience along your journey. Be sure to check back in with us soon, there are plenty more ideas just around the corner.

If you’re seeking more support in finding resilience at work, then get in touch with us about our workplace wellbeing workshops and clinic days that can provide simple techniques to use throughout the day.

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Blog post by Chris Thomson