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Resilience: A Top Priority for Healthy Teams

Lianne Weaver, Beam Development and Training
February 25, 2021

If the Covid-19 pandemic has taught us anything it’s that resilience is a vital skill - not only in our personal lives, but in our working lives too.

Savvy HR departments will be looking at how they equip their employees with resilience skills in 2021 and beyond.

Resilience is something that we only really know we've got when the pressure is on. Resilience is finding whatever it takes to carry on when we’ve had a challenge, a knock, a set-back. It’s not something we either have or we don’t have. The good news is that it’s something we can work on and develop.

In fact, resilience is such a key component in staying healthy that it pays to consider investing in formal training for your teams.

Investing in formal training around resilience can help colleagues to:

•   Understand and manage negativity bias.

•   Recognise that thoughts are not facts.

•   Know how to cope with things they can’t influence.

•   Learn to deal with worry.

The pandemic has also shown us that there’s nota one-size-fits-all approach to mental health support. HR leaders need to recognise that everyone will be reacting to external events in different ways, and that everyone will have different things going on in their lives. The pandemic, lockdowns and different restrictions on daily life are affecting people in different ways. For some people it has caused health anxiety. For others, it's brought financial worries. For others it’s caused pressure on family life - and many, of course, will be dealing with a mixture of these concerns, and more.  

So while we are all in the same storm, we are navigating it in our own very different boats.

Added to that, we are dealing with the fact that all of this is unprecedented. That word may have become something of a cliché over the past year, but the fact remains that none of us has dealt with anything like this before. This has the effect of removing the ‘comfort blanket’ we’d ordinarily seek when going through a life-changing situation. We can’t look back to consider how we’ve coped with something similar in the past, or reach out to someone who’s been through the same thing.

Because of all this, it’s imperative that employers empower staff with the skills to look after their own mental health and develop their resilience, or what I like to call their ‘bounce-back-ability’. Now more than ever we need to work towards creating an inclusive culture where all employees feel comfortable in bringing their whole selves to work.

As a starting point, here are some tools which leaders can use with their teams:

• Our most important need when recovering from a knock or coping with a challenge is our connection to others. We are community animals - we don’t do well entirely on our own. A setback or ongoing adversity may make us want to shut ourselves away but, even if you are the type who likes to shut yourself away to process something, it’s important to reach out to family, friends, colleagues or a professional afterwards. In short, we need to build and maintain a strong network.

• Encourage colleagues to identify whether their go-to coping mechanisms are helping or exacerbating the problem. Common external coping tactics can include alcohol, food, smoking or shopping. But these can often trigger feelings of guilt on top of the original problem. More effective coping mechanisms are those which are internal, such as talking to a friend, going for a walk, meditating, or sleeping.

• Talk about compassion. Team-mates will often support one another if they are facing tough times - but are they as kind to themselves? Encourage colleagues to acknowledge how they are feeling and to take the time they need for recovery from whatever has happened.

Lianne Weaver is the founder of Beam Development and Training, whose purpose is to help employers and employees take responsibility for their wellbeing. Beam offers CPD-accredited courses on topics including resilience, emotional intelligence, imposter syndrome, and confidence. Currently courses are delivered to corporate and SME clients virtually, as well as via an on-demand Wellbeing Library.
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