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In this series, I am introducing you to the twenty superpowers that leaders need to possess to create an environment for resilience. This is an environment in which individuals and teams are resilient in the face of constant change.
Individual resilience is critical when the world around us is volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous. Resilience means we can adapt to difficult situations and not just survive but thrive. Unless we do, the stress will overwhelm us, and we will suffer physically and mentally.
Each week we will explore one of those twenty superpowers.
Superpower: The Restructurer
The Restructurer uses cognitive restructuring to challenge negative and reactive thinking.
What we say and how we say it can shape how we think. What we think can increase the intensity of our emotions and the way in which we perceive difficult situations. Therefore, the use of negative language can create negative emotions, which will result in low resilience.
Leaders and the individuals in their teams can use cognitive restructuring to change the way they think about situations.
Leaders should challenge negative language such as:
“I can’t do it.”
“It isn’t even worth trying.
“I am stressed with the uncertainty of it all.”
“I will just avoid challenges as it is easier than having to face them.”
These are all negative predictions and leaders should pay attention when they happen. When employees are thinking in this way, it is hard for them to see any positive outcomes.
As a leader you can do the following:
Calm the situation. Take your employee to a quiet place like an unused room or an outside space and get them to breathe deeply.
Ask your employee about how they are feeling and what has triggered that feeling. It is important to understand the triggers and the emotions that resulted. When we know the triggers, we can manage them. If your employee is making unfounded assumptions about a current situation or future situation, dispute them in a positive and considered manner.
Leaders need to be mindful that negative language like “I can’t do that” can stem from low self-esteem and lack of confidence. Therefore, it is important to determine what is underpinning the negative language.
Leaders need to help the employee reframe the situation and look at it from a positive angle. They need to provide a new perspective that will keep employees motivated and inspired.
Encourage and work with your employees to decipher the following:
- Pause. Take a breath and ask what just happened?
- Identify the triggers.
- What were they thinking immediately after the trigger?
- What were they feeling?
- Let them rate their emotional response on a scale from 1–10 with 10 being the most intense.
- Reframe. Ask if they can look at what happened from a different perspective? Is there a more realistic and / or positive way to view the trigger?
- Ask how they are feeling after the exercise? How would they rate their emotions on a scale from 1–10?
Encourage your employees to keep practising these steps.
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