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Building ‘Hardiness’ into Your Organizational Structure

by Jody Ordioni

Building ‘Hardiness’ into Your Organizational Structure

In testing times, when change is unpredictable and inevitable, any organization needs to develop an ability to adapt. One method to adapt in tough times is by increasing your 'hardiness', which means your ability to remain healthy when you are under stress. Hardy leaders have a stronger sense of commitment and are more dedicated to their work life.

Due to their greater feeling of control, they are more open to change and face challenges that arise in the workplace head-on. While being hardy does not make one immune to becoming ill due to stress, it does certainly increase the resilience towards stress. They tend to interpret stressful situations as a part and parcel of life. To them, it is challenging but also an exciting time.

As a leader, by developing hardiness in your attitude and encouraging the same in your employees, you are sure to take your organization to new heights of success. Through our research, we have found that there are four effective ways to build hardiness into your organizational structure. These methods are bound to bring positive changes in the company and help you attain success.

Respond to Stressful Circumstances with a Strong Sense of Commitment, Challenge, and Control

Stress is valuable and stressful events are also important. They provide one with the unique opportunity to learn and grow from their circumstances. Subordinates look up to their leaders to model their behavior and keeping a cool head in a stressful situation will set a great example. Therefore, it is imperative to be visible. Leaders should be seen around the company, getting work done. Be passionate about the work you do and is being done in the company.

Also, show that you are invested in the work your employees are doing. When a crisis arises, leaders can use them as a golden opportunity to set a model behavior of response for their subordinates. A calm approach is the best route. The situation should be assessed rationally, and a plan of action should be formulated.

Discuss Mistakes and Failures Positively

Ask yourselves the question, whether you accept the responsibility for the mistakes you commit and use them as learning opportunities? Or do you too get caught up in the unending cycle of shifting the blame from one person to another? Resilience can only be built if leaders are setting high standards, while also being open to addressing shortcomings and failures and using them as an opportunity to learn and grow.

An approach to mistakes being used as learning opportunities should not be restricted only to day-to-day interactions and communications. It can also take place in a more formal setting of after-action debriefings or reviews. The leaders should always be willing to provide positive feedback and criticism of the events. Focus on using them as opportunities for growth. Do not forget to capitalize on the success of the group and acknowledge the efforts of the employees through rewards or recognition.

Allow Opportunities for Positive Performance Feedback on a Scheduled Basis

Whenever appropriate, ensure that you provide the employees with positive performance feedbacks, since it creates the perfect opportunity to learn and grow. However, before handing out feedbacks, make sure that the employees who receive them are eager enough to learn from their mistakes and welcome critique of their performances.

Setting reasonable goals and standards can ensure that your employees are being challenged enough at their jobs and this is useful to increase the rate of employee engagement. It also leads to them gaining a sense of achievement after accomplishing a particular goal, thereby making their employee experience unique. You must also remember to express that, even as a leader, you are open to change and welcoming towards feedbacks. Allow employees the opportunity and time to express how they believe things can be done better within the company, on an organizational level.

Social Interaction While Working and Outside the Office is Important

In the office space, try to make accommodating and comfortable spaces for the employees, where they can interact with their co-workers during lunch or break time. In addition to it, companies should also look into sponsoring offsite activities to promote team spirits, such as charity benefit projects or sports competitions. A system of social support from one's co-workers can help in coping with stress and promote the hardiness that leaders wish to instill in the company. Collective experiences can help to manage the well-being of employees.

The Bottom Line

While trying to be hardy with the employees, it is also important to remember that employees are human beings too. The above measures outline the steps that should be taken by leaders, but each company is different and what might work for one may not work for the other. Thus, it is important to understand the needs of your company before formulating any structural changes.

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