Building Strategic Resilience in your Employees

The world can be a frightening place. As a business leader, I am always aware of the choices I make to minimize my perception of fear and uncertainty. Natural disasters, such as Hurricane Maria, increasing financial pressure, and intense competition — both here and abroad — have defined an evolving and complicated landscape for developing our businesses. How do we manage to lead from a place of love and understanding, not fear and paranoia? How do we prepare our teams for strategic resilience?

It’s simply not possible to protect our employees from all the ups and downs of business. Developing resilient employees, however, is possible. As leaders, we must provide our team members with the tools they need to respond to the challenges of a growing company so that they may navigate through changes successfully. Despite all our efforts, we cannot prevent adversity and stress, but we can learn to be more resilient by evolving how we think about challenges and difficulties.

Today’s businesses, and inherently, its employees, are under tremendous stress with the potential to damage both physical health and psychological well-being. The stresses derive from different places, including pressure from being in a company that is growing. Employees are often overscheduled with tasks and projects and afflicted by the ever-present peer pressure.

In today’s ever-complex business environment, employees need to develop strengths, acquire skills to cope, recover from hardships, learn to shake it off, and be prepared for future challenges. They need to be resilient to succeed in life and help our businesses grow from adversity.

The & C's of Resilience

Dr. Kenneth Ginsburg, author of the Guide to Building Resilience, has identified seven “C”s of resilience, acknowledging that “resilience isn’t a simple, one-part entity.” The guide was designed for parents, but we as business leaders can use these guidelines to help our employees recognize their abilities and inner resources.

1. Competence – Competence exemplifies the feeling of knowing that you can handle a situation effectively. We can help the development of expertise by assisting our employees in focusing on their individual strengths; recognizing their competencies individually and avoiding comparisons; empowering employees to make decisions, and focusing any identified mistakes on specific incidents.

2. Confidence – An employee’s belief in his own abilities is derived from competence. Build trust by not pushing your employee to take on more than he or she can realistically handle, recognizing when they have done well, and not diffusing praise that may lack authenticity.

3. Connection – Developing close ties to colleagues creates a solid sense of security that prevents alternative destructive paths. You can help your employees connect by building a sense of physical safety and emotional security within your workplace, addressing team conflicts openly to resolve problems, and fostering healthy relationships that reinforce positive messages.

4. Character – Employees need to develop a robust set of values to determine right from wrong, and to demonstrate a caring attitude toward colleagues. To strengthen your employee’s character, start by showing how behaviors affect others, avoiding hateful statements, and displaying the importance of community.

5. Contribution – Employees need to realize that the company is a better place because they are in it. Understanding the importance of personal contribution serves as a source of purpose and motivation. Teach your employees how to contribute by stressing the importance of helping others, modeling generosity and creating opportunities for each employee to contribute in some specific way.

6. Coping – Learning to deal effectively with stress will help your employees be better prepared to overcome the business’ challenges. Coping lessons involve modeling positive coping strategies consistently,realizing that simply telling employees to stop the negative behavior will not be effective, and not condemning them for negative behaviors that could increase his or her’s sense of shame.

7. Control – Employees who realize that they can control the outcomes of their decisions are more likely to recognize that they can bounce back stronger. Your employee’s understanding that he or she can make a difference further promotes competence and confidence. Empower your employees by learning that discipline is about teaching, not punishing or controlling, and use training to help them understand that their actions produce inevitable consequences.

Our employees need to know that there is a leader who believes in them and trusts them unconditionally — even when knowing that they will live up and down to your expectations. There is no simple answer to assure strategic resilience in every situation, but we can help our team members develop abilities to manage their own challenges, to be more resilient, more capable, and at the end of the day, happier.

Learn more about how to build strategic resilience in your employees.

DuartePino is a management advisory firm that combines in-depth customer knowledge with practical expertise in marketing communications to help clients create sustainable business growth. We can provide your organization with a fresh perspective, a proven process that invests in the outcome, and the tools for successful execution. From Fractional CMOs to business advisory services, contact us to learn how our team can help with growth strategies for your organization.