Shaping and Developing Personal Resilience – The Process and the Outcome

Resilience: The ability to bounce back from setbacks and to keep going in the face of tough demands and difficult circumstances, including the enduring strength that builds from coping well with challenging or stressful events

As no one can avoid the adversities and challenges that they are inevitable to come across at some point of their life and career, the real skill is the resilience to bounce back.  Applying to both individuals as well as organisations, resilience is not about learning to fail, but learning to bounce back and the process and outcome of it. The key word however is learning; the outcome of resilience can have substantial effect on an individual, whether it’s in terms of a progression in their career, beginning of a new career path, or generally improving one’s life satisfaction.resilience

Crucially, personal resilience is not to be considered as a trait that people either do or do not have. After all, we are born with utter helplessness as new-borns, eventually gaining personal control. Thus, personal resilience is not an unchanged trait, but something of a more complex nature that can be further developed. Even in evolutionary terms, life itself is the most resilient thing that exists and biological diversity ensures human adaptability to the new circumstances and challenges. Adaptability and resilience also manifests in individual differences when facing everyday challenges in terms of individual thinking styles and behavioural coping mechanisms.

Therefore, as evolution may suggest, variety in humans is a crucial factor for resilience to manifest itself and this is where resilience’s complexity comes into show. Personal resilience involves behaviours, thoughts, and actions that can be learned by and developed in anyone – essentially resilience is about increasing one’s awareness and self-control. Once one reaches this awareness, they can consciously take action to regain their position, allowing them to channel energy more adaptively and constructively in the face of changing circumstances and pressures. Personal resilience consists of individual characteristics and situational factors that define the process and outcome of a situation. The main areas that shape personal resilience through the interaction between individual characteristics and situational factors can be narrowed down to:

  • Confidence – Positive attitude, self-belief and optimism

Start focusing on what has gone well and stretch yourself further

  • Purposefulness – Self-control and meaningfulness

Create meaningful goals for yourself

  • Adaptability – Intelligence , mastering of new skills and ability to improvise

Engage in changing yourself in order to deal effectively with change

  • Self-regulation – Mindfulness and self-awareness

You are not your thinking. You are the person observing your thinking. When you feel anger, you’re in control of what you do next. When you are angry, you’ve lost control 

  • Social Support – Empathy and awareness of self and others

Develop your Emotional Intelligence by connecting with others 

  • Bigger Picture – Perspective

Write a brief personal vision statement with your most important values and the key parts of your life. Even if you’re facing a career crisis you will feel better if you can keep your perspective.

 

Resilience is thus built through the process of coping with challenges and results in endurance of strength, it involves self-control and willingness to acknowledge one’s own role in success as well as in defeat. And what matters is how one deals with it. Acknowledging possible biases in one’s thinking style, such as how they would reason or attribute their success or failure, is an important part of the process. Success can feel good and is in most cases a motivational boost, but one is not to define themselves by it, as one wouldn’t define themselves by their mistakes.

Steven Snyder, the author of Leadership and the Art of Struggle, notes that after suffering a setback, it is natural even for leaders to feel the burden of embarrassment and retreat into isolation. However, the leaders Steven interviewed for his research had strong social support systems, and they tapped into them during difficult times. Not only did they get the support and encouragement they needed to keep going, but also their social support system was an important source of new ideas and inspiration.

In conclusion, personal resilience isn’t all about setbacks or successes, it is also about learning the behaviours, attitudes and work patterns that allow one to keep going and growing, even in difficult or uncertain times. Resilience can also bring power, direction and energy to one’s career and life and for them to become more comfortable in an environment where nothing stays the same and the old ways may no longer work. Once they gain resilience, one can create a more successful career path, and at the same time find greater enjoyment with whatever their path may be.

Just because someone is afraid to push themselves towards something challenging and unfamiliar, it doesn’t mean that their strengths cannot in fact be hidden outside of their comfort zone, just waiting to be recognised. Thus, the outcomes from the process of resilience can further strengthen one’s resources and attitudes – ‘positive stress’, challenging goals and having the confidence to step outside of one’s comfort zone area all vital steps in order to experience greater satisfaction of one’s accomplishments.

 

 

Sources:

Jill Flint-Taylor and Alex Davda – Understanding and Developing Personal Resilience (2015)

Steven Snyder – Leadership and the Art of Struggle (2013)

Tips for taking psychometric assessments

What to do when you are going for psychometric assessments

These days, psychometric assessments are being used for a staggering variety of roles, right up to CEO level. If applying for a job, you may be asked to attend an assessment centre with a large number of people, or to attend a one on one session where you take the assessments alone and may be offered a feedback session or a validation interview.

We are often asked by clients how to prepare for psychometric assessments. The first thing to remember is that you cannot learn the information on which you will be tested. They are licensed assessments, strictly limited to qualified practitioners.

 

Before the assessment:

  • If you have any form of disability that may impact upon your ability to do the assessment, let the company know in advance so that provisions can be made. For example, there are different forms of certain assessments that can be given if a candidate is dyslexic.
  • Find out how long the appointment will take and make sure you allow yourself ample time.
  • Remember, this process is a part of your interview, so conduct yourself accordingly; dress smartly, make your appointment promptly and don’t be late. Be friendly and polite towards everyone you meet as these factors will most likely to be taken into consideration, particularly if personality profiling is part of your assessment.
  • Have a good night sleep beforehand – many companies try to avoid testing candidates late in the afternoon, and for good reason, people perform better when they rested and more alert, so try to schedule your appointment in the morning or as early as possible in the afternoon.

 

During the assessment:

  • If you don’t understand the instructions, or the examples, ask for clarification. It might sound obvious, but it is vital you understand both before beginning the assessment.
  • Take a break between tests if possible, if one is not offered, then ask – performance generally begins to deteriorate after 50-60 minutes. Taking a break after 40 minutes can reverse this. Don’t be afraid to ask for a short break – it will improve your performance.
  • If you are doing cognitive assessments online, make sure that you are doing them in a place where you will not be disturbed. Generally speaking, these will be strictly timed and it will not be possible to “pause” the test and return at a later time.
  • Don’t worry if you feel you have performed badly on one of the assessments, it is difficult to gauge how well you have done. Additionally, most of the tests are designed so that only 1-2% of people can actually answer all the questions. Set it aside and move on to the next one.
  • For personality assessments, the key is to answer honestly. Give the first answer that comes to mind and don’t over think it. Do not try to give answers that you think are desirable but untrue. There are social desirability scales built into the assessments and it will show if you do this. More importantly, if you are not going to be suited to the role or organisation, then you will have had a lucky escape.

 

After the assessment:

  • Ask for feedback. Sometimes it will be offered. If it is not, then ask if it is possible to get feedback. In some cases, there will be a report written on your results and sent to the company. Ask if you may have a copy of this when the process is complete. Whether or not you get the job, it will be a useful and insightful thing to have and can perhaps highlight areas you may wish to develop.