Union Views: Resilience – is that even a skill?

Problem-solving skills essential (photo: iStock)
October 8th, 2016 7:00 am| by Steen Vive

Resilience has become a buzzword when talking about attractive skills for employees. According to the international consulting firm Mannaz, in the future resilience will be the single most crucial skill.

It is frequently mentioned in job postings, but often in such a variety of ways that it is drained of meaning. What does resilience really mean? Recruiters rarely elaborate. Here is my take.

Behaviours, thoughts, actions
Resilience is defined as ‘the ability to cope with change’. A key question when thinking about it is: when faced with obstacles, do you give in to them or rise above them?

Resilience is not a trait that people either do or do not have. It involves behaviours, thoughts and actions that can be learned and developed, and several characteristics are associated with it (see below).

Three steps to resilience
If it’s that important, how can you develop it? For starters, consider taking the following three steps.

Build faith in your abilities. By reminding yourself of your strengths and accomplishments, you increase confidence in your ability to deal with change. Think of similar situations that you have experienced, focus on how you overcame them and use this as an inspiration to handle the present situation.

Be optimistic – positive thinking means you understand setbacks are transient and you have the skills needed to combat whatever challenges you face.

Finally, establish goals. When overwhelmed by a task, take a step back to assess what is before you. Brainstorm possible solutions and then break them down into manageable steps.

Keep working on your skills
Keep in mind that resilience does not involve any specific set of behaviours or actions. It varies from one person to the next.

Focus on practising the common characteristics of resilience, but remember also to build upon your existing strengths.

Characteristics associated with resilience

1. The capacity to make and carry out realistic plans
2. Problem-solving and communication skills
3. Confidence in your own strengths and abilities
4. The capacity to voice your opinion – whether to bosses, colleagues or clients
5. The ability to distinguish between your own and the company’s interests – and make the right choice

Steen Vive

Steen is senior advisor at Djøf, the Danish Association of Lawyers and Economists. He is a blogger and manager of various projects aimed at generating jobs in the private sector. In this column he writes about trends and tendencies in the labour market. Follow him on Twitter @SteenVive