Grit, Resilience, and Hardiness

In many ways, GRIT, RESILIENCE, and HARDINESS are more similar than not. If we were to differentiate, though, I’d say it this way:

  • GRIT is what keeps you focused and helps you push through, notwithstanding the stress
  • RESILIENCE is what helps you bounce back from a prior stress
  • But HARDINESS is the ability to actually thrive before, during, and after – and notwithstanding – the stress

So while GRIT and RESILIENCE are obviously very important, if you want to maximize your efforts, work on increasing your level of HARDINESS.

Building Hardiness…or Not

Figure inspired by : The Hardy Executive, Salvador Maddi, Suzanne Kobasa

recognizing hardiness

Think about it this way:

  • CONTROL vs. POWERLESSNESS is created by

    • Shifting from: Trying to Control What You Really Can’t
    • To: Addressing What You Actually CAN Control
  • CHALLENGE vs. OVERWHELM is created by 
    • Shifting from: Feeling Helpless and Dis-empowered
    • To: Creating Healthy and Doable Challenges and Stretch Goals
  • COMMITMENT vs. REFUSAL is created by

    • Shifting from: Thinking, “It’s Too Hard, Why Bother?”
    • To: Reconnecting with your Core Values and Beliefs

Doing so – even partially – will help you create a more optimistic (and less pessimistic) view and naturally shift from avoiding what’s stressing you (which only causes more stress) to taking action to resolve what’s stressing you sooner.

Which Begs the Following Questions…

  1. How might you have more CONTROL than you maybe realize?
  2. What’s the a ‘doable’ CHALLENGE inside the overwhelm you’re maybe feeling?
  3. And what is the larger COMMITMENT you’re working toward?

Try It For Yourself And See, Yes?

While grit is good, don’t just settle for being able to push through your challenges, regardless of its personal cost to you.

And while resilience is good, too, don’t just settle for being able to recover from stress.

Focus, instead on increasing your hardiness so that you can actually thrive before, during, and after – and notwithstanding – the stress.

For more, visit www.leadershiptraction.com/hardiness.

 


What, ME Worry?!

Photo by Helena Cook on Unsplash

Check out John Parrott’s excellent post, The Ultimate Guide To Stress Management – an impressively comprehensive and well-sourced look at the topic at hand…like his many other posts at RelaxLikeABoss.com.

Look at all he covers:

1. What Is Stress?
2. What Are The Symptoms Of Stress?
2.1. Physical Effects Of Stress.
2.2. Emotional Effects Of Stress.
2.3. Social Effects Of Stress.
3. Why Do We Feel Stressed?
3.1. ​Leading Causes Of Stress.
​3.2. Other Causes Of Stress.
4. Benefits Of Stress.
​​​​4.1. Positive Stress.
4.2. Enhanced Memory.
4.3. Motivation.
4.4. Resilience.
4.5. Caring For Others.
5. The Dangers Of Stress.
5.1. Heart Problems.
5.2. Anxiety.
5.3. Digestion Problems.
5.4. Suppressed immunity.
5.5. Different Gene Expression.
6. How To Manage Stress.
6.1. Change Your Mindset.
6.2. Exercise.
6.3. Take Time To Relax.
6.4. Meditate.
7. Negative Ways To Manage Stress.
7.1. Ignoring The Problem.
7.2. Drinking & Smoking.
7.3. Avoiding Others.
7.4. Dwelling On The Negative.
7.5. Emotional Eating.
8. Tips For Managing Stress.
8.1. Get Some Sleep.​
8.2. Try Relaxation Techniques.
8.3. Keep A Stress Diary.
8.4. Learn How To Manage Your Time.
8.5. Say No To Unimportant Tasks.
8.6. Treat Yourself.
8.7. Listen To Soft Music Or ASMR Videos.
9. Stress Management FAQs.
9.1. How Do I Cope With Stress?​
9.2. How Can I Make Stress My Friend?​
9.3. How Can You Stop Stress?
9.4. How Does Stress Affect The Brain?​

The infographics, alone, are worth a look-see.

Given that 79% of people regularly experience physical symptoms of stress – and all the ineffective (and negative) ways we try to cope – if you learn even one thing that helps, you’ll be ahead of the pack – although, frankly, I’ll be surprised if you don’t learn a whole lot more than that. I know I did.

So go. See. Read: The Ultimate Guide To Stress Management. You’ll be glad you did.


Restraining Restraint Bias

Image Source: Pixabay

What is Restraint Bias?

Restraint Bias is our (inaccurate) belief that we can control natural urges more than we really can.

But even beyond that, we often TEST ourselves just to prove we can.

Except, we typically CANNOT.

  • “Oh, I don’t need to prep so I won’t get defensive when they challenge my hold-backs at the upcoming budget cut meeting.”
  • “Oh, I don’t need an agenda for my next staff meeting so I don’t ramble on. I can just wing it.”
  • “Oh, I don’t have to write down what I just agreed to do. I won’t forget (again).”
  • “Oh, I can hit the snooze button (one more time) and still get to work on time.”
  • “Oh, I can eat just few potato chips (and not end up inhaling the whole stinkin’ bag).”
  • “Oh, just one more drink…”

You see when it comes to urge- and temptation-management, THINKING about avoiding something – if we even raise it to the level of conscious thought – is significantly easier (and substantially less challenging) than ACTUALLY avoiding it.

Why?

Because we routinely forget how tempting an urge can be when we’re not actually being tempted by it.

And that fools us into thinking that THIS time (or NEXT time) will be different, oh, just you wait and see.

But, realistically – and more likely than not – it won’t be.

Research on Restraint Bias

Turns out that Restraint Bias is a pretty common thing.

Per Researcher Loran Nordgren, et al:

  • Students who rated their ability to overcome mental fatigue more highly than others, also thought they could leave more of their coursework until the last week of term.
  • People who felt they could resist eating their favorite candy bar better than others were actually more likely than others to eat that candy bar.
  • Those promised a greater cash reward for challenging themselves to fend off greater temptations were more likely to lose to those challenges.
  • People in a ‘quit smoking’ program who claimed more impulse control than others were found more likely to relapse.

And those were just the scenarios tested.

So How Best to Restrain Restraint Bias?

David DiSalvo said it best in a Scientific American Mind magazine:

“When you’ve made progress avoiding your indulgences, and that little voice in your head tells you it’s okay to start exposing yourself to temptation again — ignore it.”


Leadership Move #29: Establish S-T-R-E-T-C-H Goals

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The thing about personal/professional development goals is this: If they’re too easy, people get bored by them; If they’re too difficult, people get unnerved by them.

Either extreme falls short of its intended aim. So the key in establishing quality goals is to have them sufficiently s-t-r-e-t-c-h the person, but not overwhelm them.

Here are three ways to do that with your staff:

  1. Trial-and-Error – Try a few things, see what works, what doesn’t, and modify the goals accordingly over time. It helps to realize that you don’t have to get it exactly right the first time; the best learning (and striving) is always iterative.
  2. Report Back – The idea here is for them to create their own goals and then tell you about them. Then build some stretches around what you hear. Just keep an eye out for whatever bias your staffer brings to the process, though – some people will purposefully UNDER-estimate what they can achieve (sandbagging) ; others will OVERstate it (wishful thinking). Your job is to find the sweet spot.
  3. Collaborate – Engage WITH others on random assignments to: (a) see how they perform; and then (b) create their s-t-r-e-t-c-h goals WITH them. Using the best of ways 1 and 2, identify meaningful, relevant, and sufficiently challenging goals that build their skills and are aligned with their interests.

Whatever way you choose, be sure to remind people that you are noticing whether they’re working on their goals (or not) … and watching their progress (or not).

In other words, help them keep their s-t-r-e-t-c-h goals top-of-mind so they actually DO stretch.

After all, the things we pay attention to are typically the things that actually get done.

 


Leadership Move #26: Explain the ‘Why?’

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Who hasn’t overheard this type of conversation between a boss and employee:

Boss: Do this.
Employee: Why?
Boss: Because I say so.

Given this reality, no wonder employee morale and engagement is so often as low as it is!

Sure, there are times when a crisis or tight deadline might require extreme employee responsiveness, but making them jump through hoops just because you can is bad form.

Why ‘Because I Say So ‘ is NOT Your Best Move

Sure, using these words can seem pretty effective.

  • They seem to save time.
  • They seem to eliminate the need to explain oneself.
  • And they seem to keeps things moving.

Or does they?

Initially, maybe yes. But you have to ask – whose time are you saving? And for how long? Because if you’re thinking that such heavy-handedness doesn’t result in considerable grousing about you behind your back, you’re terribly, terribly wrong.

And does it really eliminate the need to explain oneself? Maybe in this moment, but if your staff can’t figure out the rationale for your request, then they’re likely not going to be able to provide an end-product you’ll be satisfied with. No, chances are much better that they’ll only provide you with what you specifically asked for – what’s minimally required – rather than what you intended for them to do – or what would truly ‘wow!’ you.

As for it keeping things moving? Hardly. In truth, it’s actually far more likely that you’ll just end up creating one gigantic bottleneck as everyone around you simply learns that it’s best to just wait until you to tell them, precisely, what to do.

Besides, it’s just wrong for a boss to be that disrespectful.

Taking Time Saves Time

So is there a better way? Yes, there is: Whenever you have a task or assignment to delegate to someone, spend an extra 15 seconds and explain the ‘why?’ – the business justification – behind your request.

  • Why does the database needs to be scrubbed? Because inaccurate records delay our ability to respond to client concerns in an expeditious manner.
  • Why is the report now needed tomorrow? Because some important decisions need to be made and the report will provide the essential information we need to make them.
  • Why do we need stakeholder approval before this next step? Because while we can certainly wreck this project all by ourselves, the only way for it to succeed is with the support and involvement of our key business partners.

Getting clear on what the ‘why?’ (that is, the underlying business justification) isn’t always easy. But it is wildly important.

 

Why the ‘Why?’ Matters

Knowing, and being able to articulate the underlying ‘why?’ for everything you delegate makes it so much easier to talk in meaningful, relevant and compelling ways. And when your staff understands why it makes sense to be do what you’re asking them to, it becomes that much easier for them to do a better job.

Which makes employee buy-in that much easier.

Which moves things forward that much faster.

Which gives you, and others, much more time to work on what else is important.

Which makes it that much easier for you – and everyone else – to be notably successful.

Is ‘Because I Say So’ Ever Appropriate?

Not in those words, per se, no. But in times of true urgency, when you really do need extreme employee responsiveness, try saying this:

“I want you to know that there is a solid business justification for what I’m asking you to do, even if it’s unclear to you in this moment. And, while I’d be happy to explain the ‘why?’ to you later, if you’d like, because of the urgency of the matter, it’s essential that you take care of it, first, right now, without delay. Agreed?”

A Translucent ‘Why?’

But what if you don’t actually know (or can’t articulate) the ‘why?’ that you’ve been given by someone up the chain? What then? Well, perhaps that means you need to go ask your boss for some additional clarification.

And what if you don’t actually know (or can’t articulate) the ‘why?’ behind your own request? (Hey, it happens.) Well, perhaps – just perhaps – the task you had in mind really doesn’t need to be done, after all.

Hmm, not assigning unnecessary work? What a great way to improve employee morale and engagement!

 


Leadership Move #23: Let Them Lead YOU

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We can pretend otherwise, but being a leader can be very ego-gratifying.

No judgement. It’s just something that naturally results from having the authority to tell people to stop whatever they’re busy working on and work, instead, on whatever YOU want them to work on…and then get to watch as they comply!

Just Because You CAN Doesn’t Mean You SHOULD

Be careful, though, about pushing that ‘because I want you to’ button too hard or too often. It can wear pretty thin, pretty quickly. And when it does, it dramatically increases the likelihood that when you REALLY need someone to comply…they won’t.

That’s why it’s important to remember that it’s good for a leader to NOT call the shots all the time.

That’s why encouraging staff to lead YOU, from time to time, can be a very strong leadership move.

Just Because it SOUNDS Odd Doesn’t Mean it IS

Yes, encouraging your staff to lead YOU may seem a bit obtuse, but it’s really not.

Consider an employee who has an idea for something that’s maybe only marginally interesting, to you, but that person is willing to put in the time and energy to try and bring it to fruition.

What’s your move?

Here’s a hint: It doesn’t really matter if you think the idea is any good or not. What matters is that they want to TRY.

Obviously you must both agree on the project’s scope, timing, funding, and non-monetary resource allocations, but once that’s in place, it’s the employee’s turn to take the lead.

Just Because it DOESN’T Work Doesn’t Mean it DIDN’T Work

Truth is, whether the initiative fails or succeeds, you win!

How? Because if the initiative fails, you get points for letting the person ‘give it a shot’ – and if it succeeds, your organization benefits from an improvement that you would probably would not have focused on. And, either way, you earn the employee’s respect and regard for letting him/her try – which is what we might call a win/win!

And you know what ELSE is nice about win/wins?

They typically provide a very nice ego-boost, alongside, too!