With schools frantically attempting to recalibrate their back to school plans in the age of a pandemic, many parents are trying to figure out how to tackle this upcoming academic year. Parents aren’t the only ones struggling with a lack of answers right now; nearly every worker is managing through things like endless video meetings, longer hours, job insecurity and minimized social contact. These dynamics can lead to stress. Stress can lead to a lack of engagement and decreased performance. This has created a no-win situation for countless employees and companies alike.
While literally no one could have predicted the dumpster fire affectionately known as “2020,” there is at least one organizational element that has been proven beneficial in helping both companies and employees alike during this time. Forget your abs. Resilience might be the single biggest muscle we can be exercising this summer.
Think about it this way. It’s easy to project that you have a strong culture during the good times. If the company is performing and/or has garnered some hype, it easy to tout how amazing your culture is. Perhaps your company offers an abundance of free food, or an incredibly inspired work space. Those perks don’t equal a great culture though. It’s like putting a fresh coat of paint on a run down house. It might look good on the outside, but scratch below the surface and it’s a hot mess. You know what is SO much better? When you pull up to a beautiful house, and realize it’s just as beautiful when you walk through the front door. That synergy doesn’t just happen; it takes time, energy and commitment. Just like strong cultures.
Strong cultures are the ones who do the inside work, not just look fantastic on the outside. They make the effort to understand and embody who they are, and they live by those values every day. There is no question these last several months have tested the fortitude of every employee and business, but my observations and conversations have indicated to me that those companies that have up til now just focused on the surface level “fluff” are really suffering right now. Business performance aside, with so many people working from home for months on end, those companies are being forced to look in the mirror and face the reality that they perhaps weren’t as healthy as they thought. And their teams are reacting. The job market may not be as plentiful as it was just a few short months ago, but great talent can always find a new home. So what’s a company to do?
Leaders need to take the time to reflect and assess how strong their culture truly is. Obviously, data helps. Whether it comes in the form of a morale survey, representative conversations across the organization, etc., the most important part is to understand how your employees really feel about your culture before you can seek to make any edits. One component to inquire about is the resiliency of both the individual, as well as their feelings about the resiliency of the company overall.
If you find it’s something that is lacking, here are four ways to strengthen the resiliency in both the culture of the company as well as that of the individuals who are there. In addition, you just might simultaneously reduce the stress of everyone in your company.
CONFIDENCE. Employees who know how to manage their stress and have the coping mechanisms and strategies for dealing with it are typically brimming with confidence and resiliency. They have a “never done,” learning approach, and face adversity with a “what did I learn from that?” mindset.
What you can do today to build this skill: Find one stressor today, and tackle it head on. Rather than let it get you down, find the learning moment in it. How might you approach it differently? Work hard to find a new way to work through it, and lean into the learning.
PURPOSE & VALUES. Resilient people and their companies understand and embody their purpose and values. They have clear goals they are working towards, but they understand that sometimes setbacks happen. Rather than crumble when that occurs, they dust themselves off and summon their problem solving skills to reach a new (and maybe even better!) outcome.
What you can do today to build this skill: Develop clarity on your purpose and ensure your own core values are in line with your company’s.
HUMAN CONNECTIONS. While video meetings have been a huge help during this global work from home time, “real relationships” have taken a hit. No amount of virtual happy hours and game nights can replace real human interaction and connection. Resilient people understand the importance of building and keeping these relationships strong. When times are good, it’s great to have a trusted crew to partner with. However, this is equally important when things are challenged. Having others to rely on and who can rely on you aids in both reducing stress and reaching desired outcomes.
What you can do today to build this skill: Identify and establish your “people.” Doesn’t have to be a big group; just focus on a handful of people you know are in your corner - and vice versa.
ADAPTABILITY. Resilient people understand flexibility is critical when trying to manage things that are out of their control. They understand and embrace that change happens, and they view it as an opportunity rather than a massive threat.
What you can do today to build this skill: Challenge yourself so that when the thought “that’s the way we do it here,” pops up, squash it. Instead, consider a different way of approaching, and see if it just might lead to a better outcome.