Only 44% of employees believe they can always “bounce back” from hardship. That’s a
sobering number as employee mental health and wellbeing erode post pandemic in 2019.
And it packs a prediction about resilience that people leaders must grapple with.
In reality, there is no high performing company as such. By that I mean that a high
performing company is created by the accumulation of a number of high performing teams
who are capable of consistently bringing extraordinary results even in the face of adversity.

Those leaders, some of whom are close to burnout themselves, have their work cut out for them. The good news is this:

Human psychological needs are no enigma. When leaders fulfill the four needs of followers, a sense of:

  • Trust,
  • Compassion,
  • Stability
  • Hope

They are more likely to catalyze resilience and performance.

In fact, 59% of employees who strongly agree that their organization cares about their overall wellbeing, believe they can always bounce back after hardship. But only one in four employees strongly agree that their organization cares.

Positive change begins at the most local level: the individual.

Before meeting the needs of others, managers can reinforce their own wellbeing by strengthening their connection to their sense of self, to their team and to the company mission. How?

Discover Your Potential

1.Focus on You

Your talents are the result of your innate wiring – the patterns of thought, feeling and behavior that come naturally. In a rapidly changing environment, your strengths are constants you can rely on and capitalize on to improve your situation. So, ask yourself:

  • What has changed for me since the external environment altered (such as COVID-19 outbreak)? What hasn’t changed?
  • What was I doing when I felt “at my best” recently?

With that in mind, think about how you can do more of what led you to excellence.

Gallup finds that resilience is closely related to the ability to do what you do best, almost as much as a sense of mission and purpose and the belief that your opinions count.

Think about the actions you can take today and tomorrow to improve your situation.

2.Think about the team

The best teams can be counted on to care, speak up and get things done no matter what.
In fact, employees who say their organization cares about their wellbeing are five times
more likely to also strongly agree that when something goes wrong, their team looks for
solutions rather than blaming each other.

Clearly, your team will be more resilient if you proactively tighten your team’s connections. Therefore, ask yourself and your team:

  • What do team members say has changed for them, and what hasn’t?
  • When has the team been at their best during the last week?
  • How has the team used and applauded their collective strengths?
  • Who can I best partner with to create positive change and move others toward action?

Allign with the Mission

People need a purpose larger than themselves. It fuels resilience and day-to-day motivation,
especially during difficult times.

Don’t lose sight of your value and your impact on the mission. So, ask yourself:

  • What are our company’s stable values? How am I living up to them?
  • As a company, how have we capitalized on our strengths in the last seven days?
  • How can we become even stronger in the days to come?
  • What action(s) can I initiate today to cultivate our corporate strengths which, in turn, keep our culture alive?

The 59% of workers who feel they can always bounce back from hardship work in very different companies, but they share a sense that their organization cares about them. By claiming and aiming their strengths, anyone can cultivate this same confidence in their ability to rebound from adversity.

The effect will be far greater if their manager incorporates the practices above. But the greatest impact comes from leaders’ commitment to employee wellbeing and a wellness program isn’t enough.

Improve workplace welbeing through communication

In one client study during the early days of the pandemic, conducted in a predominantly blue-collar organization, Gallup found that employees who said their leaders clearly communicated plans were much more likely to feel safe and cared for than respondents who didn’t feel leaders communicated with them.

Furthermore, employees who strongly agreed their manager kept them informed about their company’s plans were also four times more likely to feel their company fully cares for their wellbeing.

Leaders saw a noticeable increase in resiliency among these same employees, especially for blue-collar workers, whose belief in their ability to fully bounce back from hardship exceeded their white-collar peers by 13 percentage points.

Like many managers of blue-collar workers, a manager’s span of control in this organization is much larger than the typical white-collar manager’s, and most of their employees have little control over their time and few channels of communication.

Gallup’s analysis encouraged the company to step up its communication, and as a result, employees became vastly more likely to feel cared for.

Moreover, research shows that when managers communicate using a common language and strengths-based approach, they don’t just help people, they increase profit:

A Gallup meta-analysis found that, on average, profit in companies using strengths-based employee development increased by 14%-29%.

Using your strengths and having a manager who demonstrates care significantly contribute to high resiliency. But resilient companies need more. They need leaders who fulfill the four critical needs of followers.

The Manager Matters

If the rough days behind us prove anything, it’s that employees need a sense of trust, compassion, stability and hope from their leaders to sustain wellbeing.

But people leaders have had rough days too, and their resilience may be as bruised as that of their direct reports.

They must heal themselves before they can heal their team. They must have a psychologically sound framework that cultivates leaders’ and employees’ wellbeing – and knowing their innate talents is a good start.

There are brighter days ahead. Resilient, hopeful leaders with resilient, hopeful teams will be best able to meet them, and make the most of them.

Taymour Miri

Taymour Miri is an ICF master coach and a
Gallup certified strengths coach and more
recently one of the first 136 coaches world
wide to be awarded an Advanced Certificate
in Team Coaching. He has 30 years’
experience in leadership roles and 20 years
of experince in coaching. Taymour has
trained over 1,500 coaches across five
continents and is the founder of
International Coaching Education (ICE).