There is much to learn about how professionals and organizations can effectively weather the storm during a crisis such as the current Covid-19 pandemic. Organizational resilience and the practices associated with fostering it are key to managing disruption.
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.
Managers are typically tasked with overseeing and taking steps to ensure the productivity of their employees. This task is complicated and requires a finely-tuned blend of providing motivation, doling out consequences, adapting to institutional change, and helping employees build independence and new skills.
Most managers are, by definition, focused on factors outside of themselves. Managing a team of employees and running an organization requires a ton of outward attention, and an ability to prioritize others’ needs before addressing ones’ own. This perspective, however, can come at a high price: managers may neglect to notice or address their own stress and physical health.
Most managers are well aware that employee satisfaction and job enjoyment predicts performance, retention, burnout, and other crucial outcomes. Employers also tend to recognize the value in selecting and screening for employees who are optimistic, and otherwise psychologically equipped for their specific position.
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).