The importance of resilience in the workplace
Increasingly people work in an environment that is susceptible to high levels of stress due to a number of factors ranging from ‘customer’ needs and demands, shortages of staff and changing organisational requirements. This can lead to work-related stress, poor performance, sickness absence, poor morale or high turnover of staff. In addition long hours and the ‘always on’ culture of checking emails and using smartphones can also lead to people being more tired and stressed. When levels of stress are high mistakes can be made and the more likely that individual’s physical and mental health will suffer. This in turn impacts on the individual’s performance and ultimately the organisations performance.
The personal resilience of individuals working in today’s environment is clearly important in order to cope with constant change and pressure. Leaders at all levels of organisations set the tone, culture and expectations for the workforce. As well as having personal resilience they should be able to create and sustain a healthy working environment that enables people to work hard, feel great and cope effectively with day to day working. They have a key role in relation to the wellbeing, engagement and performance of their teams. So they need to understand the impact of personal resilience but also that of others. They need to get the balance right between challenge and support for their teams. After all most organisations will tell you that more people leave because of the relationship with their ‘leader’ than for any other reason.
In understanding the importance of resilience, particularly in today’s environment, I have reflected on my own personal journey of improving resilience. I have had a long and varied career having spent over 18 years working in the NHS before moving to consultancy over 9 years ago.
I have always been a resilient person, but I had to learn to develop that strength further and improve my coping strategies as I moved into new roles throughout my career. The stresses and stressors have changed over the years which reinforces my belief about the importance of resilience both in my personal and work life.
I have supported people in a number of organisations in building their own resilience and understanding their roles, particularly as leaders, in the resilience of teams. I have also developed programmes that support building resilience.
Because of my own experiences and that of others it is important to me that I continue to support people in understanding the importance of resilience in the workplace and the ways of creating and sustaining a healthy, productive working environment. After all it’s what most people and organisations want isn’t it?