In partnership with the Academy of Executive Coaching, we recently carried out a survey on the demand for resilience in the workplace. With over 200 respondents we think the results are a shock. And so we wanted to share them with you.
In reading these results you might have the urge to feel vindicated about your feelings towards your workplace. Stop. Consider your own responsibilities in this. Consider what you need to do for yourself. You can do a lot. Then consider what you might influence.
To provide a frame for the results of the survey, we will use The Resilience Dynamic®:
Many of you have experienced this and its implications through the Resilience Engine services. The model explains firstly that resilience is your ability to adapt; indeed it’s a measure of your capacity for change. It shows a contiguous line of connecting between lower to higher levels of resilience, and it demonstrates how resilience shifts up and down, often according to context. Contained in the model is the idea of different resilience states of Fragmentation, Breakeven, right the way through to the zone where high performance is sustained, Breakthrough.
The last few years of The Resilience Engine work has highlighted that the majority of the working population sit around the Breakeven mark, sometimes at Coping, sometimes at Bounceback, and often oscillating between the two. This is the ‘ok’ state.
In the last few years, we have been discussing what seemed like a trend towards Coping, and indeed not Coping. Not coping impacts wellness. Sometimes seriously. Not coping may lead to depression and anxiety. There will be a performance drop. And the capacity for change is zilch. Not coping, and further, Fragmentation, are resilience levels that needs to be taken seriously.
The survey shows the following hard data as proof of that trend: a whopping 82% say that the demand for resilience is high, only 10% in total say its manageable.
Within that, 44% of people said the demand is high and rising.
The level is a shock to us. It’s worrying. If this data is an indication of a more general trend, we need to sit up and pay attention. Falling levels of resilience leads to health issues, both mental and physical. What can you do if you feel like this?
A. Notice it. The first resource available to you is to become aware of what you are like when you aren’t coping.
B. Accept it, at least for now. Resilience goes down yes, but it can go up with the help of very pragmatic actions. Accepting your level means that you will invest in yourself more wholly and more wisely. That will lead to an increase in resilience immediately.
C. If you feel you aren’t coping, follow the three steps below :
- Remove all non-essential items. For a day, for two days, for a week. For longer if needed.
- Connect with your breath. Just notice it, enjoy it, relax in it. For a minute to start off with. Then build up to longer. It will help you widen your perspective, help you see the wood from the trees.
- Create space to consider your energy. How can you get more energy for yourself today? it might mean having a laugh with a friend. Or going into nature. Or allowing your house to be a pigsty for a day or two until you rest!
Being Present, and Energy, are shown in the Resilience Engine as two fundamental resilience enablers, no matter the resilience level. Embrace them.
What can you do if you notice others feeling like this?
- Help them do the above
- If there has been structural change in your team/organisation, spend time – loads of time – helping the person clarify their role, the boundaries of that role, and how they can be authorised within that role. Clarity and autonomy are very important for resilience within the workplace.
- If you are a coach or internal Organisational Development consultant, consider building your own expertise in resilience. See our Community of Practice and how to join.
Investing in your own resilience takes a bit of practice, but it’s easy and if you are doing it daily/weekly, you get big pay offs. That will mean for those of you not coping, you will cope better. For those of you with higher resilience, you will stabilise more.
Investing in your resilience is a path to feeling more at ease, no matter what’s going on. Start investing in yourself today.
Author: Jenny Campbell