In these unprecedented times, many employers are fighting harder than ever to remain profitable, and employee performance is one of the most influential drivers when it comes to business success. And while many believe that the key to success at work is intelligence, or going above and beyond the demands of your role, in these modern times success often relies more heavily on an individual’s capacity to cope and even thrive when faced with stress. Broadly speaking, resilience is the ability to ‘bounce back’ when encountering the challenges that are an inevitable part of life, and to cope, thrive and flourish when the going gets tough and when pressure is applied.
As a business leader, employee wellbeing must be at the forefront, and one of your main goals should be ensuring your people are mentally resilient and managing stress and pressure effectively. This is particularly relevant today as we deal with the insecurities and financial ramifications that have resulted from the global pandemic. More than 90% of young Australians are reporting difficulty working remotely because of COVID-19*, and we are facing a mounting mental health crisis in our country.
Business leaders have both an opportunity and an obligation to address the growing issue of stress and pressure with their people. We have devised a simple 4 step process to assist you in building a mentally resilient dream team:
Resilient Employees Perceive their Work as Meaningful
There are two critical areas in business. The heart-based areas, such as relationships, communication, culture, and leadership; and the brain-based areas, such as systems, processes, products, and governance. The key to buy in is to build the heart of the business first, so that your people develop an emotional connection to the business and their colleagues, thus feeling more invested and more inclined to go the extra mile with the brain based, non-emotive work. Resilient Employees perceive their work as meaningful, so the crucial component here is to ensure you prioritise, develop, and nurture the heart of your business to drive success and engagement. One powerful activity is to hand out post it notes and have everyone write down the one thing the business needs most to be no. 1 in your industry. Some examples may be: Unity, Communication, Sales, Training, Fun, Leadership, Systems, Culture, Engagement. Once the list is finalised, focus on the heart-based growth areas first, and have everyone nominate a tangible action that they must complete each week to improve upon the nominated growth area.
Resilient Employees Build Meaningful Connections
A large proportion of the business world is currently living in a virtual and autonomous reality (online), meaning team unity and connection is more important, and more elusive than ever. To achieve meaningful connections within your team, leaders must first embrace their people and take steps to ensure they feel they are their organisation’s most valuable asset. Too often leaders know less about their own people than their people know about them, and no one cares how much you know until they know how much you care. Take the time to learn more about your people’s wants and needs. Take the time to understand who they are and what drives them. If they see you caring, they will care, they will share your vision and engagement and peak performance will follow.
Strong relationships with leaders and colleagues are the glue that will fast track any vision, and to create a sticky, cohesive team, one of the most powerful activities is a structured group sharing of stories. Ask your team to think of a time in their life where they faced some level of adversity and to consider how that turned that experience into a positive, or alternatively think about someone in their family they admire and why. Get together weekly and take it in turns of sharing each other’s stories. One person per week is to share for a maximum of 15 minutes. You will be amazed by what you learn and by how close and unified the group become.
Resilient Employees Exercise Mindfulness
The practice of meditation is proven to have both immediate and sustained positive effects on resilience*. Just 15 minutes a day can alleviate stress levels and promote emotional balance, clarity, competence, and courage. Many professionals find it difficult to make time to be still, so a walking meditation is a fantastic accompaniment to exercise, enabling the busiest of people to experience the benefits of physical activity and mindfulness in unison. Sleeping meditations are also exceptionally powerful, promoting deep, undisturbed sleep whilst delivering positive subliminal messages to the brain. The Quality Mind app offers a fantastic 10-day beginners’ meditation series which is free.
Resilient Employees Live in the NOW
We have over 70,000 thoughts per day, and most of those thoughts (about 90%) are dominated by worry, concern, and limiting beliefs connected to what’s happened in the past, or what may or may not happen in the future. Awareness of these thoughts is the first step, followed by the understanding that you are in total control of them. Everyday obstacles are a fact of life, but it’s all about how we tackle these obstacles and the thoughts that accompany them. Once you start living in the NOW, you can’t help but become excited by your momentary existence, without worrying about what has already happened, the future, or things that are outside of your control. At first it will be challenging to halt your concerns regarding what was or what may be, but with repetitive practice this will become a healthy habit, changing the way you view your world for the better and encouraging a more resilient outlook.
Richard Maloney is the author of Stress Free – How to Thrive Under Pressure in Unprecedented Times. He is the CEO of Quality Mind Global, an international mindfulness business with over 500 clients in 30+ countries and founder of the #1 employee engagement licensing company in the world, Engage & Grow Global. Find out more about Richard at www.qualitymindglobal.com or www.engageandgrowglobal.com