We think that building personal resilience is a management foundation skill. During your management career you are going to face many stressors, both people and situations that are going to test you, potentially to the limit. Being able to ride these storms doesn’t happen by chance, it is a skill you can develop.
There are many aspects to being resilient. Resilience is not only about the moment, the now, the current challenge, it’s also very much about me and the future. It’s understanding what it will take to cope today and when other (perhaps even more unpleasant) things come flying in my direction.
The advent of fragility
Psychologists are talking a lot at the moment about the advent of ‘fragility’ in society. That is the idea that some in our day our feeling increasing less robust and more fragile. It’s given birth to the phrase ‘snowflake generation’ for those born after 1995, referring in part to the increase in protectionist parental strategies. In the United States it’s also thought to be connected to laws brought into play around 1995 that (for example), made it illegal for under 10’s to play alone in a public playground. Whatever the truth of these things, it’s well reported that we are seeing a significant increase in people finding it more and more difficult to cope, or using our language here, lacking resilience.
One of the problems is that we often look for confidence in being the best. We look to be confident in being the winner, the champion, the most attractive, the one promoted, the one with the most social media likes etc; in a sense we encourage one another to go for gold all the time. Yet the truth is, you can never be confident in getting gold! You have no idea how you will actually perform on the day, let alone know how the others will perform against you. So we end up lacking confidence, being unable to be sure of our success.
So how can we reposition this? Well, by simply putting our confidence, not in doing the best that can be done, but in doing the best we can in that moment – these are two different things. The second is something we can be 100% confident in. If not, we are just not trying! This is just one of dozens of strategies that can help to increase our robustness and so contribute to our overall resilience.
Invest in robustness
In our most fragile moments, we can quickly lose perspective. Try investing in your robustness. Develop your strengths and do all you can to reduce catastrophic thought processes that make the worst of future scenarios. With skill and practice we can become increasingly resilient to all kinds of management pressures.