Why is it that in the face of significant challenges some employees remain strong and take things in stride, while others struggle or even crumble under the stress the challenges present? The answer is that some employees are more resilient than others.
Although the general concept of resilience has circulated in casual conversation for a long time, its presence in corporate hallways and meeting rooms is a new development. It might come as a surprise to learn that the evolution of the resilience concept didn’t grow out of organizational behaviour or management, but out of the world of developmental psychology. Developmental psychologists have long studied why some children, who grow up in very difficult conditions, such as those involving poverty, abuse or neglect, are nonetheless able to thrive when so many of their counterparts succumb to their less-than-ideal circumstances and end up damaged or poorly-adjusted. Today, managers are interested in understanding how they can capitalize on what developmental psychologists have learned in order to foster resilience in their employees and organizations. They need to succeed in the face of difficulties such as cost-cutting, downsizings and ever-intensifying competitive pressures.