How to Help Build Employee Resilience

How to Help Build Employee Resilience
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Employee Resilience Matters
In our leadership action learning programs, we define employee resilience as the ability to respond in a healthy way to pressure, to deal with difficult situations, and to overcome challenges. We know from change management simulation data that employee resilience is important.  Employees with higher levels of resilience report greater job satisfaction, higher employee engagement, and a greater sense of control over their life. It’s important that we know how to help build employee resilience.

Without resilience, employees can become victims of stress and lose their ability to prevent negative thoughts and emotions from affecting their judgment and motivation. The good news is that employee resilience can be learned and improved upon.

What Leaders Can Do to Create Greater Employee Resilience
Perhaps the most important action leaders, especially new leaders,  can take is to secure their own emotional wellbeing. They have the power to inspire and influence their employees. First and foremost, effective leaders need to foster resilience in themselves and then model best practices for their followers.

Based upon organizational culture assessment data, here is what you can do as a leader:

  • Maintain Your Energy Level
    Each of us needs to maintain a level of energy that allows us to function effectively. And this energy needs regular refueling. The method of “filling up the tank” varies from individual to individual. Introverts, for example, are energized by quiet time on their own while extroverts feed themselves through positive social interaction. The key is to thoughtfully refill regularly, day-by-day.

    Make sure that you do it for yourself and make it easy for your employees to do the same.
  • Manage Your Own Stress
    Stress is inevitable whatever the source — job, traffic, cost of living, conflict at home — you name it, personal or professional. The key is to build into each day a time to release stress and find calm. Just going outdoors for a short time produces endorphins that will help you feel good; or you can set aside time for a yoga stretch or mindfulness exercise.

    In addition to daily pauses, plan for time away from the job and the daily grind. Design a restful vacation if you can or at the least a change of scene where you completely disengage from work and recover a sense of positive work-life balance.

    A recent study by the World Health Organization (WHO) found that working 55 hours or more a week was associated with a 35% higher risk of stroke and a 17% higher risk of dying from heart disease than a workweek of 35 to 40 hours.

    Are you making it easy for yourself and employees to take time off?
  • Manage Your Employees’ Stress
    The challenge is to expect high performance from your team members while at the same time supporting their emotional needs. The best way to do that is to ensure that performance expectations are clear, meaningful, fairly measured, proportionately rewarded, and fully supported.

    As a leader, you are the one who can cause stress through unclear or unreasonable demands or alleviate it by setting clear, agreed-upon, well understood expectations for performance.

    Are you actively monitoring and alleviating employee stress through high levels of clarity and support?

The Bottom Line
If you want to increase employee resilience, you must model leadership resilience.  Maintain adequate levels of energy, find ways to release stress, and support the psychological and emotional needs of your team.  Only then will achieve the resilience that keeps your team balanced and productive.

To learn more about how to help build employee resilience, download Leadership Performance Pressure – The Science Behind Performance Expectations

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