Resilience, as a simple definition, is the ability to bounce back after something negative, tragic, or bad happens. Resilience is most often thought of as a personal trait, and it certainly is, but it is also a way that a group, department, business or company responds after a crisis or a challenge as well.
Researchers and psychologists have long studied resilience and why some people, and some organizations, are more effective at recovering after a negative event than others. In some cases, this recovery may actually be adapting to change and embracing a new “normal” or a new structure rather than holding on to an older, ineffective model or option.
The good news is that for individuals and groups, resilience is not a set characteristic, and it can be developed, enhanced, and improved. The key to building resilience within a group is to build up the resilience of the group members, which allows them to more quickly and more completely recover and adapt in times of change, challenge or conflict.
There are several different self-assessments that can be used to develop an understanding of the current level of resilience in an individual. Emotional intelligence assessments also address the issues that lead to resilience and can be very helpful in leading to personal growth plans to increase stress management and resilience.
There are several key factors that people with high levels of resilience have in common. By focusing in on these factors and adding them or enhancing them in your life, you can work on building your resilience levels to small and large stressors, changes, and losses in your life.
- Social network – people that see themselves as part of a social network, those with a close group of supportive friends and family members, are more resilient than those who see themselves as isolated or on their own. It is important not to confuse social networks with online networks; it is really all about human interaction and connection that builds true resilience for anyone.
- Self-esteem – feeling good about yourself and being confident in your abilities in both your work environment and in your personal life is another key factor for being resilient. When we are unsure of ourselves and our abilities, we are more likely to overreact to criticism, real or perceived, than if we are confident. Finding work that gives us a sense of purpose, worth, and value is another key aspect of both self-esteem and self-worth as well as feeling confident and competent in what we do.
- More effective communication skills – many conflicts and issues, particularly in interpersonal relationships, are caused by ineffective communication. Working on developing communication skills helps to build up core competencies and increase our abilities to diffuse and manage conflict.
Other activities such as regular exercise, a healthy diet, taking regular vacations and doing things we enjoy in our spare time also help to boost our mental and emotional resilience to adversity in our personal and professional lives.