Written by
Alex Davda
Ashridge Executive Education

Published
31 Oct 2017

Seven steps to developing your resilience

31 Oct 2017 • by Alex Davda

The importance of resilience

Resilience is an increasingly prized asset for individuals, teams and organisations. To be resilient at work, individuals need to develop a range of positive habits both psychologically (eg: taking the time to think things through) and physiologically (for example: making sure you get enough sleep).

Utilising these strategies can help you to not just avoid stress and burnout, but also confront challenging situations, learn from these experiences and keep pressure positive.

The concept of resilience is especially relevant in changing, dynamic and high-pressured environments. The pressure is on for individuals working in organisations to meet high demands and achieve challenging growth targets.

Resilience can be developed

Resilience is key for individuals and organisations, not just for coping with unwanted change and stressful circumstances, but for thriving and flourishing in work and in life.

However, personal resilience can be developed. It is not something simply present in some people and lacking in others, nor is it something that remains unchanged once a person reaches adulthood.

At a personal level, you can change your views, habits and responses to pressure by modifying your thoughts and actions and, in addition, increase your openness to change. We would describe this as “developing a resilient attitude”.

Find your sense of purpose

Having structure, commitment and meaning in your life will help make you more resilient.

A clear sense of purpose helps you to assess setbacks within the framework of a broader perspective. This can be achieved by considering who and what is important to you when you feel stressed and under pressure and also reflecting on why you do what you do in the region.

Develop your problem-solving strategies

The way you perceive situations, solve problems and manage change is crucial.

Take a step back and think how you approach managing difficult issues and how often your judgement is clouded by emotional responses and irrational thinking.

Maintain your self-awareness

Reflection fosters learning, new perspectives and a degree of self-awareness that can enhance your resilience.

Developing a belief in yourself and your capabilities can be achieved through looking back at memorable and challenging experiences (both positive and negative) from your broader career, as well as your life in the.

Embrace change

Flexibility is an essential part of resilience. By learning how to be more adaptable, you’ll be better equipped to respond when faced with unexpected work challenges, as well as a life crisis.

This often involves getting outside your comfort zone, through increasing your curiosity and openness to new experiences both in and out of work. Resilient people often take an adverse event as an opportunity to branch out in new directions (eg: a redundancy as an opportunity to set up your own business). 

Become a continuous learner

Learn new skills, gain new understanding and apply them during times of change.

Do not hold on to old behaviours and bad habits, especially when it’s obvious that they don’t work any more. Start thinking about what drives these old behaviours and bad habits and whether the ‘safe way’ is always the most helpful.

Get enough sleep

When you are feeling stressed out, it can be all too easy to neglect your own needs.

Losing your appetite, ignoring exercise, and not getting enough sleep are all common reactions to both everyday pressure and a crisis situation.

By taking care of your own needs, you can successfully boost your overall health and resilience and be fully prepared to confront life’s challenges.

Take positive action

In situations of increased work pressure it can be extremely difficult to still do the things you enjoy.

People often focus on solving the challenge at hand and may work longer and later and, to their own detriment, overlook other parts of their life. You will feel revitalised if you take positive action and do the things that make you feel good about yourself, even when you feel like you lack the energy to do so. 

Ashridge Executive Education