Seven Ways to Become a Resilient Employee

Articles 07-24-2019

Resilience is an important word in A/E/C lexicon today.

We’re constantly striving to design and construct resilient communities that maximize resources such as transportation, water and energy. We help transform communities to mitigate risk, but also respond and rebuild when disaster strikes.

Resilience, however, isn’t found only in our built environment. It’s an important quality for employees in the workplace as well. Employees who can thrive in stressful environments filled with unexpected challenges are extremely valuable.

  • Medical experts have said stress is a reaction to a situation. Employees who are resilient withstand—some even thrive—when dealing with the pressures of a project deadline. They adapt and persevere through scope changes and change orders, for instance.

  • Other workplace stressors may include projects that are altered or delayed because of poor communication, a change in personnel or a lack of funding.

  • Yet other challenges may be a lack of time to complete the work, indecision on someone else’s part or not having control over a situation such as being assigned a new boss, having your work space moved or experiencing a downturn in revenue.

Resilient Employees Possess These Qualities

Paula Davis Laack, a former lawyer who is the founder and CEO of the Stress and Resilience Institute, says resilient employees do seven things differently than other working professionals:

1. They develop high-quality connections.

The office can be a stressful, demanding place. A strong supporting cast built on solid communication and trust can promote success.

2. They manage stress and avoid burnout.

Knowing how to “refill your tank” and care for yourself is a big part of combatting burnout.

3. They show up as their real selves.

Laack says this point is about being authentic. Work according to your values and strengths.

4. They grow their grit.

Obstacles present themselves daily. They can prevent us from reaching our goals. Resilient employees overcome challenges and bounce back stronger.

5. They stay inspired.

Halff’s purpose statement is, “We improve lives and communities by turning ideas into reality.” Successful people see their work and actions as meaningful.

6. They have mental toughness and flexibility.

Stressful situations don’t get the best of resilient employees because they keep their thoughts and emotions in check. They think clearly and manage the situation.

7. They manage change and setback.

The A/E/C industry changes often because of innovation, improved processes, strategies and more efficient delivery methods, to name a few. Resilience includes anticipating and managing risk.