Posts tagged psychology
7 Proven Ingredients for Building Resilience
 
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Resilience - the ability to adapt and bounce back.

 

Today’s business world is constantly changing, more so than ever before. From markets to work environments, leaders now need to plan for both the expected and the unexpected. Resilience is playing an increasingly important role in a company’s ability to adapt to change and overcome the challenges associated with it.

 

We all know that no business, individual or team is perfect. There will always be challenges, tension and failure, no matter what role or business you’re in. In order to not only survive but to thrive you need to be resilient.

 

Building resilience is easy for situations where we have control, but it is far more challenging in situations where we are not in control.

 

Here are seven proven ingredients for building resilience:

 

Connectedness 

Teams with strong relationships underpinned with trust and understanding always outperform those without. This is particularly true for teams facing obstacles.

 

Engagement

Connectedness leads to greater employee engagement. Engaged employees are more likely to bounce back from setbacks because they’re more invested and want to see your company succeed. They are also more likely to tackle challenges.

 

Review

Resilience is more than simply moving on. It involves reflection and review. Resilient teams ask questions such as ‘What worked and what didn’t work?, How can we do better next time?, What have we learned?’.

 

Future Focus

Maintaining a positive outlook towards the future is a crucial component of resilience. While learning from the past is important, dwelling on it is not. A leader’s mood has a huge impact on the mood of the team. It is easy to be positive and confident when things are going well. However, optimism has a greater impact in the face of problems. A great leader should maintain their optimism despite how they may be feeling.

 

Recognition & Growth

The majority of employees feel that their importance to an organisation is the main source of their commitment to a company. Recognising employees for their accomplishments is a great way to foster a culture of recognition, growth and resilience.

 

Vulnerability 

Consistently demonstrating personal control and resolve is a well known leadership trait, however it is vulnerability that is most powerful in building team resilience. When a leader role models vulnerability and resolve in the face of vulnerability, they make it ok for their team to do the same and helps boost team resilience.

 

Identify Difficult People 

Within each team in various situations there may be employees who are more difficult or who are bringing down the overall morale among team members. The negativity of even just one employee can have an impact on the overall resilience of a team. Good leadership and a healthy company culture means identifying these people early on and intervening. Addressing the underlying issues that individual team members are experiencing can boost their morale and in turn the resilience of the team.

 

 

Taking the steps to build resilience will put your team in a strong position when faced with inevitable challenges. Building resilience is something that all organisations need to plan for before the difficult times hit. Be ready so your people and organisation will reap the rewards.


 
Developing Heightened Emotional Intelligence
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Our emotions drive our behaviour and have an impact on others. We respond to stimuli in our environment on an emotional level and many of our decisions are based on these feelings.  Emotional intelligence, or EQ, is defined as the ability to recognise, understand and manage our own emotions as well as recognise, understand and influence the emotions of others.

According to Talent Smart, 90 percent of high performers possess high EQ, while 80 percent of low performers have a low EQ. Increasing our EQ can have a huge impact on our relationships, careers, self-control and perspective. The good news is that your emotional intelligence can be enhanced and improved overtime so long as you have the desire to learn and grow.

While emotional intelligence is commonly treated as a quality in and of itself it is actually a collection of many traits. Here are some of the top qualities associated with high EQ and ways you can enhance them:


Self-Awareness

To be self-aware is to understand how we are interacting with and reacting to stimuli in our environment. It is the ability to understand and see ourselves and adjust our behaviour accordingly. Increasing our own self-awareness involves being mindful of how our thoughts manifest themselves in our body. Pay attention to how your feelings feel, whether it be carrying tension or an increased heart rate. By developing deeper mind-body awareness we are better able to recognise our emotions and the impact they may be having on us. By becoming more aware of our emotions we are better able to evaluate them and deal with them accordingly.


Empathy

Empathy is the ability to put yourself in someone else's shoes and is an essential quality of emotional intelligence. It gives us perspective and connects us to others on a deeper level. While our primary experience of empathy is simply a reaction to others, greater empathy can be learned and improved by experiences and mindfulness. Taking the perspective of another person is not something most of us do reactively. It involves taking the time to mentally imagine how they may be feeling. To become more empathetic take a moment to put yourself in the other person's shoes and then determine the best way to interact with them.


Adaptability

Emotionally intelligent people recognise that they can always change and know when to adjust their sails. Adaptability is recognizing that the current method or course is not leading them in the direction they need to be going and trying different strategies rather than giving up. Frustration or feeling as though you are ‘in a rut’ can be a red flag that you need to adapt. Leaders constantly need to adapt their leadership method in order to motivate and inspire those who follow them. If you have been trying one approach and find you are not getting the results you want, it may be time to adapt.


Prioritisation

A major part of increasing your EQ is being able to distinguish between things you need and things you want and prioritise them accordingly. This also involves an internal awareness about what we need and want in our lives versus what society tells us we should want: a mansion, luxury car and the latest phone. We all have the potential to do many things, but only 24 hours to do it in. It is easy to make a long list of things we should be doing but at the end of the day the difference lies in knowing what not to do.


The Ability to Analyse & Apply Logic

It is important to be able to look at our emotions and behaviour, and that of others, with a non-reactive, more logical lense. By thinking deeply and analyzing the information we have rather than simply reacting we are able to evaluate our habits and ways of doing things and determine how we may improve them in the future. It is when we are on the verge of losing control, take a step back and try to process your emotions in a more logical manner. This will help you regain your sense of control and move towards problem solving rather than being a victim of your own emotions.


Being Inquisitive

Emotionally intelligent people ask lots of questions because they are willing to learn and improve. A sense of curiosity is essential to personal growth. This quality also has a positive impact on relationships as it allows you to deepen your empathy and understanding of others by asking lots of questions. This is a fairly straightforward quality to cultivate, you simply need to start asking more questions and you will slowly find that you get better at knowing what questions to ask and getting the right answers.


Optimism

Developing heightened emotional intelligence means believing in yourself and others. Approaching tasks with a positive attitude tends to lead to better outcomes.

The most important part of maintaining a positive attitude is being able to manage our own negative emotions. Try to be less reactive and avoid jumping to conclusions. Look at the situation from multiple perspectives before reacting. This reduces the chances of a misunderstanding due to a negative assumption.

Another obstacle to optimism is fear. Fear of rejection can hold us back. An emotionally intelligent way to deal with fear is to give ourselves lot of options when dealing with important situations, also termed scenario planning, so that no matter what happens we have confidence in our ability to cope and choose alternatives.

Staying Calm

We all experience stress, it is how we handle this stress that makes the difference. Emotionally intelligent people know how to be assertive rather than reactive when under pressure. When faced with stress our bodies often go into ‘fight or flight’ mode. One of the best ways to stay calm is to get rid of the physical presentation of stress in the body and back into your mind. This can be done through breathing exercises, physical activity and making sure we get enough rest when under stress.


We all have varying degrees of emotional intelligence and different strengths and weaknesses within our EQs. Identify which aspects of developing heightened emotional intelligence need the most attention. This approach will help you deepen your understanding of yourself and others and allow you to be a better friend, family member, partner, parent, coworker and leader.

Nine Ways to Overcome Anxiety & Avoidance
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Anxiety can lead to avoidance and what we commonly refer to as procrastination. This creates a catch 22 as avoidance creates stress and increases anxiety about whatever it is we may be avoiding.

When we feel overwhelmed we often procrastinate. We all have things we feel overwhelmed by whether it’s one big task or a series of small tasks that are piling up like a mountain. Sometimes willpower alone is not enough to motivate us to tackle what we have been avoiding. Anxiety and a pattern of avoidance can cause procrastination to get out of hand. Therefore, it is wise to develop a set of strategies to help you break through procrastination and avoidance.

Here are 9 strategies for overcoming anxiety, avoidance and procrastination:


1. Sort Tasks by Project Rather than Days

Save the space on your daily to-do list for things you truly need to do that day. Over cluttering your daily to-do lists can make you feel as though you are constantly falling behind as you run out of time and continue to have to bump tasks to the next day. Instead try creating a list of tasks around each project and outline all the actions you need to take so that you can tackle them when you have time.

2. Check Your Expectations

Sometimes we overestimate how much we can get done in a single day. When our expectations of ourselves are not in line with what we can actually accomplish it can lead to stress, anxiety, lower confidence levels and ultimately procrastination and avoidance.

A great way to assess what you can actually get done in a day is to see how much you manage to get through on your daily to-do list during an average week. By looking at what you have actually done rather than what you need to do you can create more realistic expectations for yourself in the future.

3. Watch Out for All-or-Nothing Thinking

All-or-Nothing thinking is very common among people who experience anxiety.  For example, if you need to reply to a couple dozen emails the task seems much bigger if you think you need to tackle all of them at once. Instead, just look at them as individual replies rather than something you have to do all at once.

4. Identify Tasks Where You Have Predicted a Negative Outcome

Sometimes we avoid doing something or seeking feedback because we fear getting negative information. If we do not feel confident that we can cope with negative outcomes we are more likely to avoid facing reality. Half of the battle is identifying that you are making negative predictions. Once you have, a good way to overcome this is to recognise that the outcome may not be negative, or that if it is you will be able to cope. It is a good exercise to think about how you will cope with any negative emotions associated with a task, such as dealing with debt. When you plan on how you will manage your feelings around a task it will make it a lot easier to take the steps you need to in order to get it done.

5. Adopt a Growth Mindset

Having a fixed mindset can lead to avoidance coping and a growth mindset can overcome it. Fixed mindsets affect our confidence and competence when approaching a task leading to thoughts such as ‘I can’t do this’ or ‘I am not good at giving speeches’. A growth mindset can help us overcome anxiety and avoidance by increasing our confidence that we can learn new skill sets and improve on existing ones. Learn more about Growth vs. Fixed Mindsets.

6. Seek Support

Sometimes we experience anxiety and avoidance because a task is actually too much work or requires too much knowledge to tackle on our own.These difficulties are common for new tasks where the path is less clear. Sometimes we need help or advice on the best way to approach a task. Allow others to help you with difficult tasks.

7. Learn to Tolerate Uncertainty

Uncertainty can cause a lot of anxiety that ultimately manifests itself as avoidance. This is commonly referred to as feeling stuck or not knowing where to start. In many instances we spend a lot of time working through different scenarios rather than taking the first step. Learning to tolerate and accept uncertainty can help get us moving on a task.  

8. Clear Obstacles

If you have been avoiding a task for a long time and it is particularly important, such as choosing health insurance or filing a tax return, try setting aside an entire day dedicated to the task. While you may not need an entire day to get the task done, clearing your to-do list so there are no other options for procrastination can help you focus and tackle the tasks you have been putting off.

9. Reward Yourself

Some tasks are not enjoyable or have negative feelings associated with them, leading to greater anxiety and avoidance. Sometimes rewarding yourself for doing a task can make it easier to begin the process of knocking it off of your to-do list.