The 9 Elements of Resiliency

October 6, 2014

Most people would agree that today’s workplace is bumpier and more fast-paced than ever before.  New technology and ever-changing organizational structures may improve productivity and efficiency, but sometimes at the expense of people’s comfort and psyche. When people are feeling overwhelmed, they are unable to cope with adversity and are often paralyzed by inaction. This decreases productivity and increases other personal and organizational costs, such as health care and absenteeism.

As this increasing pace of change is not likely to slow, organizations and individuals are well-advised to accept this as the ongoing reality and prepare for it.  The concept of resiliency is being recognized as a key attribute of success among high-achieving individuals and organizations.

Researchers have found that developing resiliency can generate many positive changes to a person’s life. These positive changes can include higher job satisfaction, greater commitment, improved feelings of connectedness, and greater job performance outcomes. Resiliency doesn’t just affect your role in the workplace, however. Resiliency can also create positive enhancements to your everyday life, such as an increased likelihood of retaining health, an increase in overall happiness, the ability to see change not as a threat but as an opportunity, and the ability to see positivity in most situations.

My work in studying resiliency has identified nine elements of resiliency:

FILTER — How you filter information and interpret the world.

  • Personal Responsibility is the belief that successes or failures at work are determined by one’s own talents and motivations, as opposed to external forces such as luck or good timing. Those who are high in personal responsibility believe they control their own destiny and attribute events to their own traits. Rather than relying on external factors such as luck to achieve objectives, they look inward to their own talents and motivations and attempt to exert control over situations.
  • Realistic Optimism is the tendency to see the world in a positive way but remain grounded in reality. Those with realistic optimism expect the future to be good, but they remain aware that challenges may arise and things won’t always go as expected. This kind of mild optimism is a crucial aspect of resiliency because it instills people with motivation while allowing them to anticipate and plan for challenges.
  • Personal Beliefs is the sense that life has deep meaning and purpose. Personal beliefs may take the form of religious observance, spirituality, or devotion to a particular value system or cause. People with a high degree of personal beliefs believe things happen for a reason and feel connected to causes or values they believe are larger than themselves.

ACT — How you handle challenges.

  • Self-Assurance is the belief in oneself to successfully perform at work. People with high self-assurance have confidence in their professional skills and their ability to deal with challenges. Because of this strong self-belief, they approach challenges and shifts in demands without loss of enthusiasm. A strong sense of self-assurance enhances people’s motivation, commitment, and engagement with their work.
  • Self-Composure is the ability to manage stress and remain calm under pressure. Those who are high in self-composure deal with challenges rationally without allowing their emotions to take over and drive decisions.
  • Problem Solving is the ability to plan and resolve problems effectively. Those with a high degree of problem-solving ability generate innovative solutions to problems. They take the time to gather relevant information and plan carefully, using reason, logic, and creativity to make decisions.
  • Goal Orientation is the tendency to set appropriate goals, monitor progress on those goals, and adjust behavior accordingly. Those who are high in goal orientation set ambitious goals and work hard to achieve them, monitoring themselves and regulating their behavior along the way.

INTERACT — How you communicate and connect with others.

  • Courageous Communication is the tendency to communicate with others in a candid and courageous way in the face of difficulty. Courageous communicators freely and effectively share their ideas with others, ask questions others might be afraid to ask, and confront problems directly. This skill is critically important for resolving relational conflicts and differences in viewpoints, and allows people to move toward their goals efficiently.
  • Social Support is the perception that one is part of a supportive social network. This includes having close confidants and people with whom one can discuss problems. People with a high level of social support feel that they have close confidants who provide comfort and assistance during difficult times.


You Can Become More Resilient!

Developing resiliency has many personal and professional benefits and can lead to a better life. These nine elements are functions of self that can be measured and utilized to better understand our resiliency and thus how to improve our resiliency. There are many techniques to help boost our resiliency.

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About The Author

Dr. Natalie Wolfson is an Organizational Research Consultant for The TRACOM Group. These tips are excerpted from TRACOM’s workbook, "Developing a Resilient Mindset." The TRACOM Group is a workplace performance company that works with the world’s top companies through leadership and team development, employee engagement and sales effectiveness training. TRACOM is best known for development of the world-famous SOCIAL STYLE Model™, a proven model for building interpersonal and selling

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