You might already be familiar with the term “resilience”. Merriam-Webster defines it as “an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change”. Resilience is critical to how we conduct ourselves both at home and in the workplace, and how we respond effectively to challenges.

However, definitions of resilience in jobs often come short, as they fail to capture the various layers of organizational structures an employee navigates.

In their resilience research, Kosseck and Perigino use an “integrated occupational approach” to show that the level of resilience differs depending on the organizational tasks and contextual demands a person meets in their day-to-day.
Using data gathered from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET), they, reviewed 11 specific occupations and analysed the different types of resilience each workplace demanded.

Need for Resilience

Drawing on the abilities and Interests, knowledge and skills, work activities and styles in each occupation, they classified resilience by occupational importance. They ordered it in terms of stress tolerance (“accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations”) and persistence (persistence in the face of obstacles”).

Kosseck and Perrigino assessed each occupation’s tasks according to nature and breadth demanded of the worker. They found that overall resilience has at least some level of importance in every profession, demonstrating that it a critical skill for job effectiveness across all occupations.

They noticed that occupations such as dancers, teachers, social workers, and police required more resilience, while models and engineers ranked lower. This means that jobs that needed more resilience had to carry out important tasks more frequently.

Tasks Demanded

The research found that each profession requires different levels of cognitive, emotional, or physical demands. For instance, social workers and teachers have more emotionally demanding tasks, while dancers and firefighters have more physical tasks (see chart above).

Likewise, firefighters and teachers must consistently perform tasks demanding their cognitive, emotional, and physical skills, while accountants and engineers, only require cognitive abilities.
Kossick and Perigino also revised the positive and negative triggers p

resent in tasks. For example, teachers must “deal with uncooperative students and families” while also performing “work-affirming events” that carry “intrinsic rewards”.

They uncovered a tendency in jobs with higher work demands and critical tasks to call for a “broader skill-set” of resilience to deal with challenges and unexpected outcomes. In other words, as the work complexity increases so does the resilience required.

Resilience in an Organizational Context

Overall, Kosseck and Perigino research shows that resilience is part of a multi-layer system of tasks that an employee engages in, which varies from occupation to occupation.

One of the main takeaways is that although resilience is often associated as an “ability to recover from misfortune” (i.e. activated by negative circumstances), it can also be triggered by positive events or situations.

After examining resilience in the organisational context and considering the personal and professional resources a person has on hand, the researchers recommend addressing resilience in a holistic manner.

They propose that resilient team players should not only “bounce back” but be able to “thrive and witness gains in personal growth and development”, both at home and in the workplace.

This is quite an insight, especially for salespeople to sustain their resilience by not only bouncing back from a difficult situation or negative deals in the current market but also focused on their personal growth and development to increase their resilience.

Also, as a manager, try to focus on how to create opportunities for your team personal growth and development to increase resilience.

Do you identify with any findings? How do you believe you can foster resilience in your industry context? Let us know in the comments.

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