Resilience: today’s must have skill

It used to be the case that people working in managerial roles could rely on a fairly cushy number at work. Jobs were long-term and work tended to stay pretty much the same year on year. The career hierarchy was fairly well-defined and life was pretty stable. Even in recessions (such as that of the early 1990s) many senior roles seemed bulletproof.

That all changed with the Great Recession of 2008-09. For the first time, nobody was immune to the HR director’s knife, no matter how secure their role had been in the past. UK business and industry came blinking into the sunlight in the past few years. Emerging into a working landscape that had fundamentally transformed.

The new reality of work: that of uncertainty, blurred allegiances and sometimes brutal competition demands new mechanisms, both organisational and individual. One of a new batch of skills that include adapability and emotional intelligence, resilience is absolutely a trait that we need at work. Whether a CEO or an administrative assistant, we need to be far tougher mentality than in the past.

Mental toughness gets us through the disappointments that face us much more frequently. Missing out on jobs, not achieving success as an entrepreneur, not gaining the respect that was once automatic. These are all times when the tendency to curl up in a little ball might be quite strong. Don’t do that. Instead get mentally tough and think in a positive and objective way.

How to get and use resilience

The good news is that all of those disappointments and even the times when things have been unfair can drive you forward. It takes self-awareness but you really can make a case for bad times leaving you stronger.

The ultimate show of strength is to carry on with positivity when other people expect you to flounder. If promotion passes you by again, or your new business bombs before launch, no-one would blame you for giving up. However, if you can make sense of the challenge, modify and try again, you will be making the most of your potential.

Getting mentally tough is not easy and to some degree it is an act. Toughness can be taught. Coaches ( can teach them and you can teach them to yourself through reflection. If you feel fragile, use your acting skills and congratulate yourself for them if necessary.

Of course a fantastic tool for toughness is endurance activity. Pushing yourself that bit harder on that run or at the gym leaves a legacy of  tenacity that you can use elsewhere. Use it