Building Resilience

Preparing managers for tough times ahead

by Philippa Thomas 0 Resilience Stress & Pressure
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In the face of rapid and significant organisational change, reduced resources, increased workloads, radical new ways of working and general uncertainty about the future, many managers find themselves stressed, depressed and on the verge of burn-out so engaging and motivating their teams becomes an almost impossible task. The result is that performance dips, absenteeism increases, pressure from senior management increases and the workplace is locked into an atmosphere of unhappiness. So performance dips again, absenteeism increases….and a downward spiral begins.

So how can this negative cycle be reversed? There are many approaches that an organisation can take. Without a doubt, a formal training intervention will need to feature in there somewhere. We’d go so far as to say that developing emotional resilience and an awareness of health and well-being, should be a critical and integral part of any manager’s personal development plan, or corporate development programme. A great programme should provide them with practical, common-sense strategies for:

  • Maintaining their personal levels of resilience and optimism
  • Keeping their people well and managing stress in the team
  • Spotting early warning signs and taking appropriate action
  • Managing under-performance and stress-related sickness absence
  • Supporting a return to work after a period of absence

We have also found it to be significant value if managers are provided with an effective diagnostic tool, prior to their training programme, to identify how they and their staff are feeling right now and what key factors might be exacerbating workplace stress for both themselves and their team members. This gives them qualitative “real” data to use in their learning and ensures that the action plans they develop are focussed, pragmatic and effective.

Skills Shift’s standard Health & Well-being At Work programme for managers covers the following:

  1. The Case for Managing Stress & Developing Resilience – managers are introduced to the solid business case for managing their own health & well-being at work, the concept of “resilience” and the elements that define it, being guided to recognise where they may have demonstrated elements of resilience in their work to date.
  2. The Links between Pressure, Resilience & Performance – the links between resilience and effective performance are illustrated, with managers gaining an understanding of the personal sources of stress, its personal impacts and the effects of our emotions on ourselves and others.
  3. Emotional Control: Techniques for Managing Personal State – we demonstrate what emotional control means in practice and identify effective, personal strategies for positively managing emotional response. Managers develop a good understanding of the links between thought, feelings and behaviour.
  4. Mental Control: Avoiding ‘Thinking’ Traps & Challenging Assumptions – managers practise visualisation and ‘acting as if’ techniques, using the ABCDE Model and Ladder of Inference.
  5. Keeping People Well – managers learn techniques for keeping control of their own and the team’s workloads, and how to ensure they engage individuals with different needs. They learn how to use the Losada Line and Progress Principle tools to foster a positive working culture.
  6. Being Observant – we introduce managers to the observable behaviours which indicate that someone is suffering from stress and the best ways of responding to these early warning signs.
  7. Dealing with “Sensitive” Conversations – many managers lack the skills and confidence to undertake a conversation with a team member about anything other than work. We guide them in how to appropriately initiate and conduct a conversation about an individual’s mental health, and how to respond to disclosure with sensitivity, respect and trust.

As with all Skills Shift programmes, the implementation of learning action plans is supported after the programme, through focussed coaching sessions.

We also provide support for those organisations who are aiming to establish a network of Health & Well-being champions from their management team, who are able provide support and training to employees outside the formal line management boundaries.

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