This article by Maria Konnikova takes a closer look at personal resilience. It details resilience research, examines the psychological reasons why some people are more resilient than others and suggests how we too can be more resilient.
What it doesn’t look at is how the culture of an organisation can affect resilience.
I recently went through a period of stress and anxiety. For a while I found life pretty hard, especially work; but with the right support I was able to keep going, to keep working, to be ‘resilient’. I truly believe that it was the support of my team that helped me to continue and to do my job well. I was given time and space to make decisions, I had support with managing my workload and the team helped me develop solutions for my anxiety so that it didn’t become a barrier. All of this support was invaluable and I would like to thank all of my team for the kindness they showed me: I don’t think I could have done my job without them. They gave me a valuable lesson and showed me that not only can I continue working when overwhelmed with anxiety, but with the right conditions and support I can achieve good things. I could be resilient.
Of course we have a personal responsibility for how we respond to external challenges, but I think we also need to look at how the culture of an organisation can support us and help us to keep going. Does the system allow staff to learn from mistakes or is there a blame culture? Do staff feel in control of their actions or like a cog in a machine? Does the organisation see something as a threat or an opportunity
For me this article is rather one sided. I’m human and sometimes I’m vulnerable and not in control of my emotions – but as I’ve learnt – that doesn’t mean that I can’t be resilient. Everyone can be resilient – if they just receive the right support like I did.