Life as a working professional involves taking risks, enduring frustrations, and recuperating in the face of failure. However, not all people are born with a high level of emotional resilience, nor is everyone given the training and support to develop it later in life. As a manager, however, you can take individual and organization-wide steps to foster employee resilience. While some individual employees will always be more naturally resilient than others, with proper supports in place your entire team can be resistant to set backs, and motivated in the face of challenge and change.
In the wake of the #MeToo Movement, more and more industries are grappling with the fact that sexual harassment is both a widespread and under-reported phenomenon (Khomami, 2017; Jagsi, 2018). Numerous victims, of a variety of genders, have suffered in silence for years while supervisors and colleagues subjected them to unwanted sexual attention. Now, suddenly, accusations are being made public, and victims are being met with greater public understanding and empathy.
For the past few decades, psychological researchers have been aware of a phenomenon called ego depletion: the wearing down of willpower and self-control. The most common understanding of the subject holds that willpower is a finite resource, which can be used up or exhausted over the course of a single day (Baumeister et al, 1998). This has been supported by research showing that when a person is asked to exert a ton of willpower (for example, by ignoring loud noises to complete a difficult task), they make more impulsive decisions afterward.
When workers are absent from work, this can cause many problems for organizations. Although organizations expect employees to take time off for doctor appointments and sickness, excessive absenteeism can lead to decreased productivity (Forbes, 2013). One of the best competitive advantages for organizations is the people that they hire. When talent is absent from work, this can have a deleterious effect on organizational effectiveness. A survey of European countries conducted by Eurofound revealed that, on average, rates of absence across Europe are between 3% and 6% of working time. Taking this into consideration makes absenteeism rate a hidden champion key performance indicator (KPI) for productivity, employee engagement and leadership effectiveness. This blog post discusses the causes and costs of absenteeism as well as how to measure and reduce it.
One of the current “trends” in the science of management is examining employees’ resilience. Like “emotional intelligence” and “grit” before it, “resilience” has become a desirable and much-discussed quality that hiring managers seek and leaders work to increase (Leadbeater, Dodgen, & Solarz, 2005). This is not without reason – resilience has been found to predict long-term success in a variety of fields (Klohen, 1996).