Like, too much of it is a bad thing.
To quote Stephen Covey, "We are not a product of what has happened to us in our past. We have the power of choice."
Resilience is currently a hot topic of conversation. Everyone is talking about how to build resilience in order to cope with the stresses and strains of everyday life and the odd exceptional circumstance.
Many people are looking to build their resilience by focusing on their health and well-being, managing stress well, and integrating their work more effectively into their lives (often rather lazily referred to "work-life balance").
People are encouraged to develop coping mechanisms when their resilience is low. The talk is often about your ability to "bounce back" from the stresses of life.
The issue with the phrase "bouncing back" is that there is an expectation that people will return back to a state where nothing has changed.
You show good resilience by possessing:
- A firm, reliable acceptance of reality
- A deep belief, supported by strongly held values, that life is meaningful
- An ability to be creative, adaptable and to improvise.
This has nothing to do with bouncing (backward or forward) as you continually evolve and improve yourself by learning from your environment and your mistakes and in this way develop your resilience.
What about people who have too much resilience?
Too much resilience is often overlooked when considering resilience and usually, it is completely ignored. Yet, people with too much resilience can be more challenging to work. Too much resilience can be seen at the Board level and within senior management teams in organizations.
For this reason, the focus of working with resilience should really be about developing resilience.
It would be a very brave person who would suggest that Donald Trump needs to build his resilience. He does, however, need to develop it!
Donald Trump does not "bounce", he bulldozes his views and opinions without due consideration for the views and opinions of other people. He does not appear to listen. If anyone disagrees with him, he fires them as if he is still at the helm of the TV show "The Apprentice".
By adapting to quick changes in his environment and by forcing through his points so that he gets what he wants, he appears not to care about others’ feelings. By pushing his own agenda too rapidly, he can appear to be keeping his emotions too much in control. He shows this in inappropriate ways by being scornful of the way other people express themselves and their emotions.
By doing so, Donald Trump demonstrates too much resilience — especially in relation to the emotions of others. By failing to understand the concerns and worries of others and by not having the understanding about their inability to respond in the same way that he does, he shows egocentricity and an apparent lack of empathy and care.
Leaders have a duty to respect and treat others as fellow human beings with different perceptions from theirs. They have to be able to comprehend these differences and to ensure that they are emotionally engaged and supported.
Having this approach will allow other people to adjust themselves to change in their own time and in their own way. Without this attitude, the actions of those with too much resilience will not help those who find it difficult to adapt or who get stuck. In certain situations, they may come across as selfish and self-centered.
How to develop the resilience of those people with too much?
Working to develop the resilience of people with too much is extremely challenging. Many resilience programs are going to fall short.
How would you go about developing the resilience of Donald Trump?
A study looking at nineteen resilience assessments that are widely used and considered to be reliable and valid concluded that there is no gold standard measure of resilience.
Measures of personal resilience are unlikely to be helpful with a person with too much resilience anyhow — they are likely to react with some impatience and frustration bordering on aggression. They will respond with remarks such as "I know that already" and "So what?".
Some people with too much resilience will prove impossible to change. Fortunately, most senior executives recognize when they have issues and have a certain strength of character that allows them to want to make any changes that are necessary.
A useful technique is coaching using Clean Language techniques. This is the practice of exploring metaphors, listening and observing with full attention on the words being used (and non-verbal signals) without giving advice, sharing opinions or adding in any assumptions around the metaphors used.
Everyone’s way of experiencing the world is different yet all communication directs attention in some way.
Clean questions reduce the direction, assumptions, and inferences that questioning often contains. They minimize the amount of contamination from the coach to free up the resources of the person being questioned so that they can think effectively for themselves.
By using clean questioning, a person can do their very best thinking, can explore their inner world of self-awareness and so take responsibility for their own choices.
Robin Hills is the author of "The Authority Guide to Emotional Resilience in Business: Strategies to manage stress and weather storms in the workplace". Available to order from Amazon.