Being resilient at work

Leadership coach and author Catherine Stothart explains why leaders have to be resilient themselves – and also have to create a resilient environment for others

Professor Cary Cooper says we experience stress “When pressure exceeds the ability to cope”. It’s like a see-saw, where we need our resources – physical, emotional, mental – to match the challenges we face.  

Being able to recognise when we are tipping over from being energised into being burnt out or stressed is key – if you are mindful of how you are feeling, you can take action to build up your resources again. 

Recently I ran a workshop for a leadership team in the public sector and we discussed what helped them to renew their energy and build up their resilience. Here is some of their practical wisdom.

  • Make time to do things you enjoy.
  • Get outside into nature.
  • Physically move around every hour – don’t sit in the same place all day.
  • Declutter your working space.
  • Arrange to meet some people face-to-face if you can do so safely.
  • Do small acts of kindness for other people.
  • Recognise the signs that you are moving into stress.
  • Learn a new skill to de-stress.
  • Practise reflection to get in touch with your emotions.
  • Focus on what you have achieved, and the positives.
  • Recognise that it might take longer to get things done.
  • Ask for help and support when you need it.
  • Talk to others about how you, and they, are feeling.

And most of all, we can ask for, and offer, support to our colleagues. 

Where is your resilience point?  What can you do to build up your resources so you can create a resilient environment around you?  

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