We all seem to be more worried about our wellbeing and how we’re going to reinvent ourselves for what the future of work will bring. To protect wellbeing, sustain performance and be in service of our customers in this fast paced and digitally connected world, organisations need to actively cultivate resilience in a systemic way. This will mitigate the impact of disruption, increase the speed of recovery and agility to changing business needs and most importantly proactively enable the worlds 3.2 billion workers to stay well and thrive.
Wellbeing and resilience have been talked about for many years and it’s been accelerated, to a top and urgent priority, through the new level of uncertainty and undeniable impact from the pandemic on all of us. Employees increasingly value those organisation’s that support wellbeing as much as financial rewards and where their direct managers show genuine care about their wellbeing. Most leaders don’t feel confident to support wellbeing yet play a critical role in fostering or impeding their team members’ wellbeing.
What do we mean by resilience?
In a nutshell, the research consistently highlights that resilience is an adaptive capacity that can be developed by individuals, leaders and teams to master stress, adapt to change and be proactive in anticipating future challenges. Situational factors influence resilience and ultimately affects our wellbeing and performance – this means that what we do personally, the quality of the interactions in the teams we’re part of, how leaders behave, what’s happening in the work environment as well as external factors like the pandemic all interact in a dynamic way.
It’s not surprising then to see the negative impact of the global trends (anxiety, depression, loneliness, stress, sleep deprivation, suicide, climate change) on workforce productivity and wellbeing. The data is overwhelming yet many of these trends are preventable, reinforced by the clear research evidence that a systemic approach to resilience makes a positive difference to our wellbeing and performance over the long term. What’s needed to deliver good outcomes for people and organisations is a more proactive, holistic and intentional approach that goes beyond free fruit, a mindfulness class, exercise or discounted gym membership. Culture and leadership are two of the biggest factors contributing to our resilience, wellbeing and performance. Culture drives our actions and leadership embeds and transmits culture.
There is no magic about cultivating resilience. It takes time, effort and commitment just as it does with learning any new skills and habits. Here are three ideas to get started…
- Be intentional – resilience is an adaptive capacity that is an outcome of the interaction between people and the environment. Without a coherent and systemic approach, it will be difficult to build and sustain resilience, achieve the positive reciprocal effects on the wellbeing of individuals, teams and leaders or good outcomes for organisations.
- Make it a collective effort – wellbeing is sought by all of us so do encourage individuals, leaders and teams to take small actions every day to cultivate resilience by making the right choices that enable them to perform and stay well for the long term. Done poorly, this will come across as a top-down compliance activity and checklist without the benefits of offsetting the ill effects of the increasingly demanding and toxic environments we work and live in.
- Support your leaders – Leaders create the environment within which people work and they simply have a disproportionate impact on the individuals and the teams they lead. Leaders need to show up in a way that fosters rather than depletes resilience which means strengthening leadership behaviours such as setting clear direction, providing a sense of purpose, recognising people for their ideas, giving and receiving regular feedback, providing autonomy and flexibility. Be prepared to make the tough decisions by having the right people in leadership roles and then invest in all your leaders to see the benefits of improved wellbeing and performance. Great leaders, through their day-to-day actions, enable more resilience and wellbeing than any resilience and wellbeing plans do.
Explore: What might be the impact on your organisation if you choose not to prioritise the resilience and wellbeing of your people?
Do share your thoughts and comments or connect with me for a conversation.