Build­ing re­silience in the work­place

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - CAREERS - Janita Singh

THERE’S a grow­ing num­ber of peo­ple fret­ting their way through their daily work­ing lives – and it’s wreak­ing havoc on their over­all health.

“The Wor­ried Well” is how the founder of The Re­silience In­sti­tute Aus­tralia, Stu­art Tay­lor, clas­si­fies to­day’s work­ers, and he knows first-hand the ef­fects stress can have on your health.

In 2001, he was di­ag­nosed with brain can­cer, which he says was caused by a high-pres­sure life­style and the pri­ori­ti­sa­tion of “suc­cess” over health.

Af­ter the di­ag­no­sis, Tay­lor gave up his cor­po­rate job and re­searched the im­pact of worry on our over­all health.

“Stress-re­lated ill­ness has been es­ti­mated to cost our econ­omy more than $14 bil­lion a year in ab­sen­teeism and pre­sen­teeism (where peo­ple come to work but have low lev­els of pro­duc­tiv­ity),’’ Tay­lor says.

Tay­lor’s own three-year study of 16,000 em­ploy­ees from 250 or­gan­i­sa­tions found that 31 per cent of staff were fre­quently op­er­at­ing in a state of worry.

This high­lights a need to im­prove the em­ployee mind­set, he says.

Tay­lor says the ma­jor­ity of work­ers have not de­vel­oped the nec­es­sary cop­ing mech­a­nisms to man­age work-re­lated pres­sure.

“Rather than re­main­ing calm, fo­cused and in the mo­ment, we worry,” he says,

“The chal­lenge, I be­lieve, is for in­di­vid­u­als to build their per­sonal re­silience to a point where, when faced with con­cerns such as fear of re­dun­dancy or role changes at work, they can bounce for­ward rather than be­ing stuck in ru­mi­na­tion.”

Tay­lor says a re­silient worker should be able to em­brace change and recog­nise per­sonal growth through chal­lenges they face.

“A great com­pany comes down to great peo­ple, which in­cludes re­silient staff and com­pas­sion­ate lead­ers, work­ing to­gether,” he says.

“Em­pa­thy starts with a cu­rios­ity about oth­ers, ac­tive lis­ten­ing, at­tune­ment to non-ver­bal cues, open­ness to di­ver­sity and, ul­ti­mately, re­quires the abil­ity to see the per­spec­tive of oth­ers.

“The com­pas­sion­ate leader cre­ates a calm cul­ture; not breed­ing fear through pun­ish­ment of per­for­mance gaps. The com­pas­sion­ate leader ap­pre­ci­ates the ta­lents of their team mem­bers and seeks to lib­er­ate their po­ten­tial.’’ More de­tails: re­silien­

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