What Kept You Going?
Here we are, one year out from when our world slid sideways into a pandemic. On some days during the last year, I felt resilient, like I was adapting successfully and “keeping it all together.” On many other days, I felt like I’d been sideswiped by a speeding freight train, and all my pivoting/adjusting/revamping wasn’t doing much good.
As we are (fingers crossed!) coming out on the other side, what learnings do we want to bring with us, especially about what has sustained us under the pressures of this last year? This is a worthwhile reflection, given the inevitability that we will, sooner or later, need those “resilience resources” again. One of my unexpected projects of 2020 was developing (along with my PIM colleagues) a virtual webinar on “Maintaining Resilience.” Here are some things we learned while creating that content:
Adversity Builds Resilience
Psychologists define resilience as the ability to maintain equilibrium in the face of adversity, uncertainty, danger, and other significant stressors. They also recognize that negative experiences are in fact how people develop resilience in the first place. So, if “experience is a hard but excellent teacher,” the good news is that we were all in the classroom last year, learning and practicing coping mechanisms we’d never needed before.
“That’s great,” you might feel like saying, “can I have my diploma now and get out of here?” Before you go, remember there’s doubtless another (stress) train coming down the tracks, so you may want to take this PI-related resilience advice with you:
Be Self-Aware: How Can I Effectively Leverage My Strengths (While Knowing Their Limits)?
One aspect of resilience is being able to utilize your natural tendencies to help yourself and others – without letting those strengths “run away” with you. For instance:
Highest As – Thrive on autonomy, the big picture, and opportunities to “make it happen”
But under stress: might act impulsively, take more risks, or become overly controlling
If leveraged well: will be realistic about what they can (& can’t) control and will re-define what a “win” can be under the new circumstances, using their competitive energies against the problem, not their colleagues
Highest Bs – Thrive on inclusion, visibility, and “thinking out loud” with others to solve problems
But under stress: might “wear out their welcome” in interactions/meetings, take up too much “airtime,” or become overly people-pleasing
If leveraged well: will utilize their interpersonal skills to keep team communications flowing, be tuned into their group’s morale, and support management in creating messaging to the organization
Highest Cs – Thrive on consistency, familiarity, drawing up plans, and creating stability
But under stress: might be unwilling to flex or compromise, may try to “proceed as usual” even if that’s not feasible
If leveraged well: will use their calm approach to bring perspective, their patience to be mentors or teachers, and their planning “superpowers” to serve on committees creating plans and infrastructure as the organization moves forward
Highest Ds – Thrive on certainty, knowledge/information, guidelines, and defined expectations
But under stress: might be unwilling to move ahead until the above can be established
If leveraged well: will find a productive outlet for their subject matter expertise, and utilize their risk-minimization mindset to “bullet proof” solutions, plans, etc.
Self-Awareness, Part Two: What Restores Me?
As my grandmother used to say, “You can’t pour from an empty cup” (this was usually followed by, “Who do you think you are? Superwoman?”). Resilience is based on compassion for ourselves as well as for others. Knowing your Behavioral Profile can give you some ideas on what will recharge your batteries, too:
High As: Focus on what you CAN control, not on what you can’t. Imagine how the current stressor/hardship might actually bring about something good. How do you want this time (and your actions in response to it) to figure into your legacy?
High Bs: Human interaction is restorative; when you’re under pressure, you may not have as much time for it, but don’t give it up entirely. Find some fellow High Bs and schedule time to serve as “sounding boards” for each other.
High Cs: Create some predictability where possible and focus on creating a “rhythm” for some parts of your days or week. And, can you schedule an hour a day where you will not be interrupted by calls or emails (this is an amazing energy & productivity boost for High Cs)?
High Ds: Beware of retreating from social interactions due to workload. Know when you need to take a break from “information overload”; stay away entirely from the rumor mill. Find a fellow High D and agree to call each other out when either of you are verging on perfectionism.
Resilience isn’t a single skill or an inherent trait, it is a variety of skills and coping mechanisms, developed over time. Whenever you practice self-awareness and intentionally choose your reactions to adversity, your resilience skill set grows and you will find yourself with an increased capacity to weather the next stressful event.
Reach out to your consultant if you’d like to learn more about the PIM “Resilience” webinar, and/or how the Predictive Index resources can help individuals, teams, and leaders promote collaboration and maximize productivity (no matter what’s going on).
Author: Vicki Myoda