Resilience is a buzzword widely used at the moment. As we move away from the idea of resilience as 'hardiness', it is becoming one of the most important skills for HR directors to build in themselves and their teams.
HR can be emotionally charged, especially when you have a role in people's recruitment, remuneration, retention and performance reviews. These situations by their nature can evoke emotions in all involved. As an HR director you need to increase your self-awareness so you can identify when you are affected by the reactions of others.
Emotional resilience describes where you are aware of your own needs and responses and prioritise these in situations where you're feeling tested. You build yourself up so you are in a state where you can cope with the pressures of the job. Or you can identify when these pressures become too significant and can take a step back or a mini pause to ensure you don’t suffer from stress or burnout.
This starts with you and making sure that you're in the best place both physically and emotionally. The basics are the same for everyone – sleep, exercise and nutrition. Throw in relationships and spending time doing what you enjoy, and you are putting yourself in a strong position to build your emotional resilience at work.
In a work environment it is worth identifying your trigger points and considering activities that can reduce their impact. If you find some situations push your buttons, consider what you can do to prepare and what you can do to de-escalate your response. Things like counting down from 10, going for a walk or making a drink can help you step away from the situation and give you more clarity and space to de-escalate your emotional response.
As a leader within your organisation you are expected to model the standards of behaviour expected in others. People look to you for the cultural norms of the organisation. As an HR director you have the opportunity to model emotionally-resilient behaviours that will have a significant impact across the organisation. This can include taking time out in the work day away from your desk to recharge, taking time to respond to emotional requests and communicating clearly with others.
A significant way you can increase your emotional resilience is through good relationships. This comes back to communicating your needs and thoughts to others in a clear way. As someone in a senior leadership role it can be difficult to have these relationships at work. I recommend looking at mentorship or coaching, which can allow you to develop your self-awareness and your confidence when you're dealing with situations that are testing your resilience.
Your relationships outside work and social support are another key factor. The people you spend time with should be those who make you feel good about yourself and in a positive place. Reflect on those people who have this positive impact on you and plan time to recharge with them.
There are a number of habits that can help you build your emotional resilience, such as journaling. Getting your thoughts out on paper can give you more clarity and create a more balanced approach in difficult situations. Meditation can help you create more mental space so you feel energised and less stressed.
Developing your emotional resilience will put you in a better position to do your job to the best of your ability in the long term.
Ruth Kudzi is a business coach, mentor and author with a background in psychology