Resilience: a soft skill to be developed urgently

CoachHub · 25 May 2020 · 5 min read

In recent years, we have seen that technical skills no longer have the top place in the heart of recruitment teams. Today, what makes the difference between two almost identical CVs is soft skills. And not just any skills. Interpersonal and relational skills are the soft skills that are absolutely essential to highlight on your CV. Confidence, emotional intelligence, empathy, communication, sense of teamwork, these skills are becoming so important today that they are sought after by recruiters as a priority but also by managers looking to develop them within their team. Why is this? It has been proven that these personal qualities are extremely beneficial to teams and therefore to the company.

However, the Covid-19 crisis has hit the professional world head on, calling into question the processes, places and work habits involved – teleworking, children at home, shortened working hours, redundancies, restructuring, company closures. The coronavirus has left behind a lot of stress and anxiety, as well as employees full of worries and questions. Some may also have felt shaken by the Covid-19 wave to such an extent that their well-being at work and at home may have been severely impacted by these upheavals. The professional world met the personal world and sat in the homes of employees who had to work remotely for months. Many different scenarios were witnessed, with each person managing this new reality in a different way, depending on their situation. Drawing lessons from the crisis, one quality has made the difference. Resilience.

Resilience: definition

What is resilience? In physics, resilience refers to a body’s ability to withstand a shock. In psychology, resilience is the ability of an individual to cope with a difficult or stressful situation. The concept of resilience was introduced by Boris Cyrulnik as “the art of knowing how to navigate between torrents”. More precisely, resilience is a psychological phenomenon that allows an individual affected by a traumatic experience to accept this event in order to overcome his shock, rebuild himself and continue moving forward. Thus, a resilient person is able to cope with a situation causing stress or grief while remaining positive.

Many events can resemble a shock: mourning, aggression, illness, divorce – these periods can be experienced in very different ways by individuals who do not all have the same personality, the same experiences, the same life. Thus, a resilient individual will be able to accept the situation more easily and adapt more quickly to his or her new reality. This notion is intimately linked to a person’s psychological health. Indeed, a resilient person will be better able to cope with repeated shocks. Their psychological balance will be less upset.

Resilience in the workplace: a capacity that makes a difference

During his or her working life, an employee is also subject to fluctuating disruptions. – redundancies, change of manager, departure of a colleague, restructuring, budget cuts, digital transformation, economic crisis, are just some examples. 66% of the general population has been traumatized at some point and 80% of workers feel stressed on the job.  In addition, 25% to 75% of employees may develop post-traumatic stress disorders in the first year following a disruptive event. Thus, demonstrating resilience is an extremely relevant capacity in the world of work. Resilience allows the employee to recover from the shock while continuing to perform their tasks with optimism. We can already guess the beneficial effects on the productivity of companies but also on the general morale of teams.

Another point, resilience is a capacity that ingests other soft skills. Stress management, optimism, motivation, flexibility, adaptability, creativity – a resilient individual brings together many other faculties to overcome his or her traumatic episode and to continue to do the job effectively. According to an Ifop Lavazza studyadaptability is one of the most valued soft skills in a company. Adaptability is the ability of an individual to be able to change according to the context, events or needs without being conditioned or influenced, by restructuring their own beliefs, ways of functioning and thinking and other habitual automatisms. It is clear that if resilience and adaptability are similar, a resilient individual will be able to overcome a shock from an emotional point of view, without jeopardizing his or her psychological security. The notion of trauma is therefore very important in the faculty of resilience. Thus, if we consider that resilience is a skill that includes adaptability, stress management and motivation, then it becomes extremely valuable in times of crisis.

Resilience also plays a decisive role in the motivation of colleagues. Indeed, it reduces and minimizes suffering at work by reinforcing the feeling of belonging to a group. When employees overcome difficult challenges together, group cohesion is strengthened. In fact, managers often rely on resilient people to give the other team members a boost. Thus, the contagious capacity of resilience to other employees should not be underestimated.

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Encouraging the development of resilience within your team

In order to foster the development of workplace resilience, several methods can be considered. For example, it may be interesting to propose positive and participatory management. In fact, management based on the mobilization of individuals in the search for efficiency and problem-solving can promote resilience. The participation of everyone allows a real autonomy of the employees as well as a more effective taking of initiative during crisis situations. However, the manager must be prepared to allow employees to express themselves while remaining open to discussion without seeking to control decision-making. This management also allows for “stress-absorbing” leadership, which will have an impact on the general motivation of employees. A stressed manager, or one who allows stress to manifest itself, will more easily transmit it to his or her employees. It is therefore necessary to train managers from an emotional point of view in order to allow a strong capacity for resilience.

Setting up a coaching solution for all team members is an indispensable tool to develop their resilience. Indeed, coached individuals will feel more supported and better able to take up challenges in the long term. Coaching is also effective when all employees in a team have access to it. In fact, a program adapted to the entire team will allow them to develop the same skills at their own pace with their individual coach, while working on team cohesion in a crisis situation. Coaching also encourages the transformation of what has been a traumatic experience for all employees into an opportunity for solidarity, taking new directions and investing in new skills.

Equipping and coaching your employees with the necessary soft skills is crucial for the longevity of your organisation and workforce. In order to survive in this new reality soft skills must not be undermined. Have a look at our whitepaper “Future Proofing Your Business with an Agile Workforce,” which also outlines the key issues your organization must consider in order to flourish for the future.

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