Last year I was and was not a great example of leadership in my role. I succeeded and failed many times.
The most significant support throughout 2022 was our company, team, and people. Simple and complex, such as they are. So when we were summarising the outcomes of 2022 with our Ukrainian HR team, and I asked my colleagues, what would be their main summaries, they said,
"We survived." We laughed. But we knew it was true. And how could we have done this without the resilience skill set and support we gave each other in the company? I can't imagine.
So, resilience is the process and outcome of successfully adapting to complex or challenging life experiences, according to the American Psychological Association (APA) definition.
Is it a skill set one can develop? Definitely, yes. It takes time, dedication, and patience; setbacks will definitely happen, but it is worth it in the current world of rapid changes.
To be resilient does not mean to skip stress or to skip your feelings. On the contrary, it's being able to work and live through emotional pain.
We've been passing through different grievance stages recently and paid quite a lot of attention to where we've been, what was happening, and how we've been dealing with everything. These talks have helped us a lot; they mean the world because we don't skip the pain, and we don't lie to ourselves and each other. It's the thing that makes us stronger in some way.
The world can already see a significant change in how people think and treat themselves. More and more people at work use psychological assistance packages, which means they take care of themselves. We can see on our company's level how often people have started using it.
On the one hand, it's evident because the war and recession are happening right now.
On the other hand, the lack of time these days and coping and denial mechanisms could have worked, but it's not happening right now; more & more people are ready to admit they need help to deal with what they go through. I'm sure the processes were launched earlier (during the pandemic).
Remember that going honestly through emotional processes is the number one rule to create a good level of resilience. To share with people who can listen and understand you is the second one.
Looking attentively into resilience and what it consists of, we'll find three super essential parts. Initially, it consists of adaptability. But what lies underneath the adaptability?
To begin with, flexibility! Flexibility creates room for adaptability, change, thinking, and acting differently (new neuron networks). Flexibility opens doors to magic tolerance towards yourself and, consequently, to others, to studying yourself and others, and finally, to make choices based on your values.
Last year, we noticed how necessary flexibility was for our company. We work with many different cultures, and if not for flexibility, we wouldn't be able to make decisions and act exceptionally quickly in the circumstances that required brand-new neuron networks: to create a BCP plan, lists of all people (with their addresses, families, pets, cars and who will be able to help others), prepare possible evacuations (will that even be possible? who knows not having that experience?), think upfront about what regions and roads will be safe/not safe, where to gather and put everyone, will there be a mobile and internet connection and many other things, including the change of business strategies directly on the spot.
There are a few ways of developing flexibility and I'm sure you know a lot of them. Here are a few points:
Change your daily routine: sit at a different desk or walk a different way to your office
Look for new experiences: learn a new skill, new language, new culture
Put yourself in the boots of others: will expand the way you see this world
Are we resilient or are we comedians?
The second part, for me, is one's beliefs & past experiences. They shape the way you'll go through a crisis. Is there sth bigger in what you believe? How does it help (or not) you? How the whole situation allows you to develop? What are your beliefs?
This one is possible only when the most challenging level of stress passes and one has time and the level of energy to reflect. And on the company level, we can say that we have such and such experience. We know we're great in super-hard, critical situations, and we know which character traits have helped us deal with our 'problems' and who is strong at what, and we can use all this in the future, applying it to business and life.
Undoubtedly, a positive attitude will be one of the most important and last ones mentioned here. Formed by beliefs, experience, and education, it's a thing that helps us to deal with stress and crisis. It helps to see opportunities and make jokes in sometimes extreme situations; it helps to level out the tension in circumstances that don't depend on us and where only our attitude can save us.
You can't imagine how often we have laughed and had fun in extremely tense situations, and we continue to do that nowadays (the war is not over, and the recession is coming up). The black humour is becoming our strength :)
To summarize, resilience can be developed by first looking at what it consists of. Think of what it means for you, and you might come up with your thoughts and ideas for what it looks like based on your experiences.
Head of HR at GT