Building resilience in the workplace
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: resiliencei.com