From OUR EDITORIAL STAFF, as is our style, we have gone “out there” to find out what is being said, especially in the academic and business spheres, about the role that resilience plays (or rather is playing) in organizations, especially from this post-Covid stage.
Some issues to consider are:
– First, it is recognized that the development of resilience within organizations is a key priority and an essential function for business models.
– It is essential that organizations are equipped to build resilience in all aspects of their operations.
– They have to ensure their ability to function fully, meet the needs of stakeholders and maintain the required level of service.
Internal and external challenges
Organizations face constant challenges from both the external and internal environment and need managers who can deal with these issues appropriately. This can be achieved by understanding the importance of resilience when planning and executing appropriate strategies.
Are we talking about leadership and resilience management?
We know that leadership is continually adapting to the demands of the environment and consequently to the changes that have to be made in companies.
Precisely all business leaders have to reflect on the tensions between planning and implementation of actions, to be prepared to better manage any crisis that occurs in the real world, not on paper.
The philosophy of integrated emergency management is key to managing resilience and is what allows for in-depth exploration so that it can be applied according to the context in which the company finds itself.
Undoubtedly, there are various theories about leadership, but all of them are open and flexible with respect to the search for the necessary perspective to deal with both the changes and the crises that have occurred, for example, the pandemic during 2020 and 2021.
Among the approaches that the study of resilience in companies should make, is that of cyber risk management. This knowledge facilitates a deeper understanding of how institutional cyber resilience is enhanced using established communication, leadership, and management frameworks.
Training in resilience skills and conscious learning
There are many postgraduate courses that introduce the idea of ”conscious learning” to promote good health, providing some simple and practical mindfulness, relaxation and stress management techniques to help people develop their own personal skills, to proactively deal with common issues like anxiety, stress, worry, or low self-esteem to help build long-term resilience. It is especially sought that students understand the relationship between thoughts, feelings and behaviors.
What is the purpose of this type of training?
Become more aware of your own thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, and be able to be an unbiased observer of them when necessary. To do this, you learn to use simple mindfulness and relaxation techniques to help reduce stressful situations/thoughts and build long-term resilience and self-efficacy. This is the key to mindful learning that allows you to truly relax. That facilitates a better understanding of the importance of knowing how to give the appropriate response to both stress and anxiety, and especially knowing the importance of mindfulness, relaxation and problem solving. The good quality of the decisions that are made depends on the good management of these factors that are an unavoidable part of our working lives.
Appreciate how thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are intimately connected and influence how we interpret stressful situations/events.
Define what is important in terms of your own personal values and goals. Conceptualize your own personal situation and the style you apply to problem solving.
Get to know the present better
Being more in the present moment; have more control of our life, both personal and professional, and thus be able to obtain a better level of satisfaction with your day-to-day activities and responsibilities.
Leaders learn hard lessons about resilience
Vulnerability should not be considered a weakness. What is essential is knowing what our weaknesses are. Understand in what things and in what moments we can feel fragile.
Dominique Steiler, who is the director of the research chair in mindfulness, well-being at work, and economic peace at France’s Grenoble Ecole de Management, likes to start his executive education classes by asking participants to stand up and read poetry out loud. This catches them off guard: many feel nervous, stressed or scared.
However, by confronting strong leaders with their own vulnerabilities, Steiler believes he can foster traits like empathy and emotional intelligence. He almost finds it hard to talk about soft skills anymore, because once dismissed as “soft” skills, they are now commonly thought of as essential leadership qualities. They have come into more focus amid concerns about corporate welfare during the Covid-19 pandemic, the pressures of remote work and, more recently, the war in Ukraine.
“Leaders tend to want to project strength and confidence, but the pandemic has exposed our frailties,” says Steiler. “Once you take off that armor, you can empathize, communicate and collaborate much better. Vulnerability is not a weakness, it is a strength.
Executive education providers, among which business schools are in a prime position, are increasingly putting these skills at the forefront of leadership development. Steiler teaches several custom programs for corporate clients on how leaders can take care of themselves and others.
The pandemic is driving demand for leadership skills such as empathy and compassion, as the stigma around mental health issues is reduced. In Sydney, the Australian Graduate School of Management’s “Leading with Resilience” course is now oversubscribed and taking place more frequently, despite increasing demands on leaders’ time.
In the case of Oxford, Saïd teaches students the importance of taking regular breaks to recover from stress, and Karen Rodriguez, the director of the program, states that “just as we regain a semblance of normality, after more than two years of chaos for pandemic, we now have to think about a war in Europe, along with skyrocketing inflation and an energy crisis. There is growing recognition of the cost this is taking on leaders, who need to heal and repair.”
The benefits of this course is that it helps participants manage stress and exhaustion through meditation and mindfulness, as well as improving sleep quality and positively reframing challenging situations. “Once stigmatized, self-care is essential,” says Rodriguez: “You can’t pour from an empty glass.”
Deloitte estimates that the annual cost of poor mental health to UK employers has increased, rising to £56 billion in 2020-21 compared to £45 billion in 2019. Mental health problems are one of the drivers of the “Great Renunciation”, with long hours, greater stress and job insecurity makes people change jobs in greater numbers.
Coping with new pressures requires a human touch, says Sally Maitlis, professor of organizational behavior and leadership at the University of Oxford’s Saïd School of Business.
Once you take off that armor, you can empathize, communicate, and collaborate much better.
Sally Maitlis academic director of the High Performance Leadership Program at Oxford states that “We are already moving beyond command and control, or leading through authority and fear,” she says. “It’s a moral imperative, but it’s becoming a business imperative. If you have people in your organization who feel supported and can bring their whole selves to work, it enables them to be more engaged, proactive and productive employees.”
This program that she leads includes a strong resilience and wellness component.
“We have more than 900 colleagues on the front lines caring for vulnerable people, and we are seeing more of them present with mental health issues due to the multiple crises going on in society,” she says. “As leaders, we must take care of ourselves and our colleagues.”
A key lesson from the Oxford course was the importance of taking regular breaks throughout the day to recover from work stress. We are seeing a more human side in the organization.
But all is not gold that glitters, as Maitlis admits that some executives with little time seem apathetic to developing social and emotional skills, in addition to the traditional leadership traits that they believe they have to learn very well to exercise. Other professors wonder if this can be achieved with single short programs or if business schools have the necessary psychology expertise among faculty. Although the truth be told, professors who are experts in Administrative Behavior (Administrative Behavior) who are experts in making strategic decisions, in delving into the theory of decisions and the process known in Management as “decision making”, are economists and experts in organizations and although they are not psychologists, they have had to study in depth what is known as “organizational psychology”. Although increasingly, the interaction and convergence of disciplines becomes more evident in the “Theory of Organizations”, in which fields of sociology, social psychology, scientific administration, operational research, marketing, people management converge, in addition to of course, the entire theoretical framework of leadership.
Because precisely from the leadership it has been understood, first at an academic level and later, as usually happens, adapting real situations in organizations to new environments, as well as new realities in interpersonal relationships. Because we all have to find ways to relax, to understand the great value that the intangible of human behavior means, interpersonal relationships and the responses of people and teams depending on the circumstances and the environment. Sometimes you need to slow down to speed up again
“What varies is how seriously teachers take these things: Finance is often seen as the centerpiece of the curriculum,” says Maitlis. “The attitude of the participants can range from simple ignorance to fear and anxiety that all these complicated interpersonal skills exist, to arrogance. Some business schools have not seen it as the priority that it is today and have not passed it on to students.”
However, attitudes are changing: in response to the pandemic, London Business School (LBS) launched a course called “Developing Resilience and Agility” in May 2020 that aims to build skills to help leaders motivate people in difficult times.
“A few years ago, people would have looked at this a bit cynically and asked, what does this have to do with financial results?” says Kathleen O’Connor, clinical professor of organizational behavior and director of executive education at LBS. “But with so many executives and their employees experiencing burnout, people are more receptive.”
LBS emphasizes the importance of taking learning beyond theory to ensure real life application. The school helps participants understand what burnout means neurologically, but also how to recognize the symptoms and mitigate the effects by instilling a sense of autonomy, belonging and competence in the workforce. “The responsibility for creating the conditions that allow their people to thrive falls on the leaders,” says O’Connor. And this is one of the keys to the capital status that inclusive and transformational leadership has and will continue to have in the scenarios in which organizations will have to operate in the future.
Some questions to ask ourselves:
1º) What is organizational resilience and why is it so important?
Organizational resilience means a harmonious integration of all functions of an organization to enable proactive organizational decision making. Therefore, it is essential that the separate functions of governance, risk, and compliance be integrated into the business objectives of the organization through integrated systems that must work in unison.
2º) What leads to organizational resilience?
The key to organizational resilience is profitability. If a business is profitable, the organization can adapt to change in better conditions than those organizations that do not have the same financial and economic health. In this way, having been foresighted and reinvesting in processes and especially in talent, which includes middle management and leadership, it will be possible to prosper in difficult times with an advantage over those who did not do their homework. That is why it is convenient that before the turbulence of a crisis arrives, when situations that will affect both supply and demand are foreseen as at present, business leaders should work much harder to prioritize sustainable plans (financial and economic health), simultaneously to have been training their leaders and especially the new leaders, how to act and how to prioritize actions in times of change. Organizational resilience requires good training to know how to adapt to changes, know how to manage them and also structure the necessary training so that the process of change and resilience are part of the corporate culture.
3º) How is organizational resilience built?
Some tips for building organizational resilience that are worth adhering to are:
– Anticipate and recognize reality, studying and analyzing the environment very well.
– Leaders must stay involved and do the same with all staff, so the key is to communicate, communicate and communicate. But do it in a transparent, direct and timely manner.
– Use your own narrative of resilience and that of other experts when necessary.
– Reaffirm the moral purpose of the organization and help employees continue to find meaning in their work. That they feel that they have a purpose and that they are recognized.
4º) What are the 4 key categories that companies should consider for the resilience of the organization?
Four categories can be considered (Leadership, People, Processes and Product) allowing the exploration of the relationships between all these elements and the way in which they can change the geographical location of the company, what is its size, if it is in the process of reorganization, if it has recently emerged from a crisis, how is the ownership of the company (in the hands of a few or an atomized type), etc. The important thing is how they are working integrated, if a review and restructuring is necessary because, for example, a new CEO is perceiving that the average resilience of the organization (perceived performance) is not at the level of effectiveness that the current market circumstances and the company itself require.
5º) Why is organizational resilience important for companies?
Always think in terms of the benefits that organizations that have provided minimal organizational training in terms of resilience can obtain:
– Improved ability to anticipate and respond to opportunities and threats.
– Acquire the ability to recognize and address vulnerabilities before having a material influence.
6º) What is the theory of organizational resilience from an academic point of view?
Organizational resilience is the ability to effectively absorb the shock of change or confronting a problem that has arisen such as the pandemic, at the same time as the ability to develop specific situations, which implies giving answers and, ultimately, participating in transformative activities, which are appropriate to capitalize on disruptive surprises that are potentially threatening the survival of the organization.
7º) What are the 7 C’s of resilience?
Dr. Ginsburg, a pediatric pediatrician and human development expert, proposes that there are 7 integral and interrelated components that make up resilience: competence, trust, connection, character, contribution, coping, and control.
8º) How do leaders build resilience in their organizations and especially in employees?
The way is to foster positive relationships through interpersonal interactions that promote enrichment and learning. This in turn requires that positive communication through affirmative language and support is also encouraged. In this way, positive meaning is created by supporting employees in their search for purpose and meaning in their work.
Everything that is done to anticipate change, training in change, management and organizational re-direction from incorporating change in the corporate culture, facilitates and even enhances a resilience capacity of people and management of that organization.