What is Resilience, and Why is It So Important in the Workplace Today?

2020 has been a year full of unique challenges. While the setbacks from COVID-19 have thrown many organizations for a loop, the everyday people who make up those organizations have had to show strength and resilience.

According to the American Psychological Society, “Resilience is the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or significant sources of stress, such as family and relationship problems, serious health problems, or workplace and financial stressors.” In other words, resilience is about “bouncing back” from difficult experiences.

Why is resilience important in the workplace?

It’s fairly clear why resilience is such a critical quality to possess, and why you’d want your team to possess it as well. And there have been a number of studies to demonstrate it.

One study found that there was a significant positive relationship between resilience and work performance and job satisfaction.

Research has also shown that resilience is associate with the ability to cope with stress at work. It can also predict how committed someone feels to the organization, how engaged they are in their job, and how long they are likely to stay with the organization.

In today’s turbulent world full of dramatic changes, resilience is clearly important. But the idea of “change” is nothing new. 2020 has just brought it under the microscope. The ability to cope with change and bounce back from challenges has always been a big driver for employee success.

After all, resilience isn’t about always being strong, never making mistakes, never showing emotions, or never hitting hard times. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Resilience is about experiencing those challenges, dealing with them, and finding a way to move forward.

A relationship between resilience and emotional intelligence

Interestingly, researchers have also found a strong correlation between emotional intelligence (EI) and resilience. Emotional intelligence is the ability to perceive, use, understand, and manage emotions in yourself and others. Emotional intelligence enables people to be aware of the emotions they are feeling towards a challenge, and to manage those emotions.

According to the research, people with higher EI tend to cope better with the emotional demands of stressful situations, because they are able to accurately perceive and appraise their emotions, know how and when to express their feelings, and can effectively regulate their mood states.

It’s even more critical for leaders to exhibit high emotional intelligence and resilience. After all, leaders are responsible for motivating their teams, even in difficult times. A leader’s attitude can trickle down to the rest of the team and have a positive (or negative) effect on how a team deals with change.

While recent events have highlighted the importance of resilience today, it’s a valuable quality to have, regardless of the times. Check out our eBook if you’re interested in learning more about resilience at work.