19Jul

What Would Gareth Do? Improving Your Resilience at Work



The World Cup dream may have died, but the legacy of the resilience of the England team will live on.  Gareth Southgate’s leadership has been universally applauded, and lessons from his approach can be taken into the business world.

“The questions around us principally come down to character, the essential ability to withstand events that go against you.” Gareth Southgate

“Resilience at work is now recognised as a defining characteristic of employees who deal well with the stresses and strains of the modern workplace”, says psychotherapist Barry Winbolt.

Resilience is a person’s capacity to respond to pressure and the demands of daily life. Dictionary definitions include concepts like flexibility, suppleness, durability, strength, speed of recovery and buoyancy. In short, resiliency affects our ability to ‘bounce back’.

At work, resilient people are better at dealing with the demands placed upon them, especially where those demands might require them to be dealing with constantly changing priorities and a heavy workload.

Resilience is not a characteristic gifted to some individuals and not others. The key here is that resilience is not a passive quality, but an active process. How we approach life, and everything it can throw at us, has a massive impact on our experience.

“We talked long and hard about owning the process and they kept calm”.  Gareth Southgate

Resilient people do more of the things that help maintain that responsiveness, and it is relatively easy for those of us who are feeling less resilient to develop habits that will increase our ability to perform under pressure, and perhaps more importantly, to live better despite circumstances that try us to the limit.

“We’re trying to write our own history, and I’ve talked to the players about that. They write their own stories. We don’t have to be bowed by the pressure of the past.” Gareth Southgate

The ability to cope well with pressure, adversity and uncertainty relies on developing behaviours, thoughts and actions. Anyone can learn these habits and create strategies to help increase resilience and hardiness.

Resilience experts say that people are helped by a particular pattern of attitudes and skills that helps them to survive and thrive under stress.

Ways to build resilience at work

  • Cherish social support and interaction. Good relationships with family and friends and others are vital. Being active in the wider community also helps.
  • Treat problems as a learning process. Develop the habit of using challenges as opportunities to acquire or master skills and build achievement.
  • Avoid making a drama out of a crisis. Stress and change are part of life. How we interpret and respond to events has a big impact on how stressful we find them.
  • Celebrate your successes. Take time at the end of each day to review what went well and congratulate yourself. This trains the mind to look for success rather than dwelling on negativity and ‘failure’.
  • Develop realistic life goals for guidance and a sense of purpose. Do something each day to move towards them. Again, small is beautiful; one small step amid the chaos of a busy day will help.
  • Take positive action. Doing something in the face of adversity brings a sense of control, even if it doesn’t remove the difficulty.
  • Nurture a positive view of yourself. Developing confidence in your ability to solve problems and trusting your instincts helps to build resiliency.
  • Keep a realistic perspective. Place challenging or painful events in the broader context of lifelong personal development.
  • Practice optimism. Nothing is either wholly good or bad. If we allow our thinking to dictate how we view something it will take over. Make your thinking work for your benefit, rather than letting it stymie you with doubt or by seeing only the bad side.

Finally, if you dress to win, it will help you face problems with a positive attitude – perhaps take a leaf out of Gareth’s book and buy a waistcoat!

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