Seren Trewavas: Everyone needs resilience, not just those in the spotlight

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A study from earlier this month found that UK workers are among the most stressed in Europe as just 13% said they felt no stress and were ‘on top of their work’. The civil service also recently encouraged its workforce to undergo training to meet the ever-changing demands placed on modern day talent. Here at a&dc we understand that resilience is a crucial trait for everyone in a business – not just those in traditionally stressful roles – and believe that organisations should look to instil this behaviour in all their professionals, not just those at the top.

The long-held view has been that only talent in leadership or obviously challenging roles could be impacted by stress, but this has changed. For example, an article in the Guardian from earlier this month highlighted the sheer breadth of occupations that are afflicted by the condition, from football managers to head teachers. And a list of the 25 most stressful roles of 2013 threw up plenty of surprising contenders, showing it’s not just people in high-profile leadership roles, like Sir Hector Sants or Antonio Horta-Osorio who can be damaged by workplace strains.

These factors, combined with the changing nature of the working world, mean it’s vital for businesses to recognise this and understand the value of developing resilience in all professionals. We may have passed the most challenging period of the global recession, but we live in an increasingly VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous) world where challenges can crop up anywhere, not only in predictably stressful conditions. Everyone is affected by stress in one way or another and everyone experiences it in different ways – what is consistent is that it can affect anyone, at any level. For a senior executive, a delay in a major deal being completed could prove to be stressful, while for a customer service assistant, anxiety could arise from a challenging phone call. Organisations need to understand this and develop resilience training for professionals across the board, not just for high-potential talent. If they fail to do so, they could be left with a workforce ill-equipped to deal with the pressures of the modern workplace. Further down the line this may mean cultivating resilience could become a vital part in improving performance as well as employee retention and development strategies at all levels.

While some professionals, like ourselves, believe it can be taught, others feel it’s a behaviour that some are simply born with. What’s your view? Can resilience be developed?

One thing is for certain, though: the modern world will continue to throw up challenging situations and it’s up to businesses to make sure their talent is ready to deal with them. While not all organisations may understand the importance of developing resilience in professionals at all levels, we expect this to change in the future and resilience to be pushed to the forefront of staff development.

Do you feel resilience is a key attribute in the development of professionals? Let us know by commenting below.

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