Resilience: the path of least resistance

A growing number of small-business owners around Australia are joining the movement to create mentally healthy work environments. And building individual and team resilience is at the heart of their crusade.

As a small-business owner or sole trader, you and your team will face many challenges: cashflow, fast-moving technology, staff turnover, business development pressure…just to name a few. And the overwhelming sense of responsibility for these challenges can affect the mental health of your staff and yourself if you are not actively practising resilience.

Resilience is your ability to bounce back in the face of a challenge or trauma and is an important measurement of how you and your small team (or family members) are tracking. When you are resilient, you have the ability to manage your own emotions and express empathy for others. Problems are not insurmountable and protection against the setbacks, failures and stresses inherent within small business is obtained.

Now might be just the time to make a start – when you can all bounce back to good operational form, the bottom line of your business profitability lifts.

1. Communication

Communication within your staff, or family members if a sole trader, can be improved dramatically by taking just a few minutes each day to talk directly to individuals about their challenges and their intended path to navigate forward. Conversely, seeking out and promoting recent achievements will go a long way toward developing positive relationships and a can-do attitude within your organisation.

2. Coaching and mentoring

Coaching and mentoring in the workplace encourages proactive thinking, which can assist individuals to develop strategies to overcome perceived or real obstacles. Just 15 minutes a week can cultivate new methods of problem-solving, conversation and empathetic listening skills, which benefit the entire team. If it’s just you in your business, consider hiring a business coach or look up your state Business Enterprise Centre which offers free coaching and mentoring services.

3. Workplace physicality

Addressing workplace physicality can be as simple as introducing stand up meetings,sit-stand stools, encouraging staff to take the stairs, or changing the printer location; best practice would include developing a workplace policy that demonstrates your commitment to promoting physical activity. Allowing every opportunity for you and your staff to move and reduce sedentary behaviour will bring about positive results.

4. Acknowledging different coping mechanisms

Coping styles of individuals vary. (Individuals within a workplace can cope with challenges in a myriad of ways.) Understanding your own coping mechanisms and those of others can help you to appreciate why some of your staff members feel frantic, with seemingly endless balls in the air, while others are cruising along. Maybe, for example, using your love of order or project scheduling can assist those of your colleagues who are experiencing the juggle negatively.

5. Lifestyle factors

Lifestyle factors can include the activities we do for enjoyment. Being good at the activity of choice isn’t always important. Allowing time to pass doing an activity “just because” is what counts. Whether it’s gardening, crafts or sporting endeavours, such activities can be conducted individually, in groups, or a combination of both. It’s the doing of something personally meaningful that can contribute towards reduced stress and feelings of overwhelm. Instead of drinks on a Friday afternoon, why not organise social events that mix up the status quo?

Building personal resilience is not easy, but it also needn’t be difficult, and it certainly won’t stop your small business throwing demands at you; but with resilience in hand, what you will find is the path of small-business ownership becomes easier to navigate.

Penni Lamprey, Director, Happy Healthy Staff

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