“People who soar are those who refuse to sit back, sigh and wish things would change. They neither complain of their lot nor passively dream of some distant ship coming in. Rather, they visualize in their minds that they are not quitters, they will not allow life’s circumstances to push them down and hold them under” Charles Swindoll
The word Resilience has its origin in the Latin word “resilíre,” which means, “to leap back” or as I like to say, “bounce back”. Resilience helps to make the uncertain things in our lives certain. Knowing how to “bounce back” from adversity and life challenges is something that all of us are able to do – we just need to know HOW.
Resilience enables you to live a life that is based on choice rather than being at the mercy of chance or habit. It also enables you to manage adversity and “bounce back” when life has shot you down.
When you are living a resilient life, you are living a fulfilled life, where you know who you are and you know what is important to you. You have a plan as to where you are going and you know where you should be investing your time and energy.
For you to lead a resilient life you have to overcome the pain, the adversity and the unpredictable challenges that life throws at you. It is not an easy journey, but then again, life was not meant to be easy.
The good news is that resilience is a process of thoughts and actions that can be learned. Although we can not control the challenging events in our lives, resilience can give us the strength to control our responses to these events.
Resilience Is A Life Story
Resilience is intangible, as you can’t touch it, but you can see and feel it. Resilience is a person’s life story and to truly understand and feel resilience at work, you need listen to resilient people’s stories. While you are listening to their stories, you will hear them talk about how they used various strategies to overcome the adversity and challenges in their life.
There are the 10 strategies that resilient people commonly use to manage adversity and to “bounce back” when life has knocked them down. By using these 10 strategies and listening to the stories of resilient individuals, you will be shown HOW you can live a resilient and fulfilled life.
1. Laughter Positivity And Hope
“I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, it’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope. Which is what I do, and that enables you to laugh at life’s realities.” Dr Seuss
Resilient people live meaningful lives. They love to laugh and have a positive and hopeful attitude of life. Resilient people don’t take themselves too seriously and they have a sense of humour about the challenges of life.Advertising
For resilient people, happiness comes because they believe in who they are, they know what they are doing, and they love what they do.
Resilient people are optimistic and believe in their own strength and ability to overcome any problems. In a crisis, a resilient person will be positive, open and willing to find the solution. They will not be dwelling on the problem but looking forward to the future solutions that should be considered.
Laughter, positivity and hope are important strateges to use when you want to build resilience in your life.
2. Accepting And Anticipating Change On A Daily Basis
“it is not the most intellectual of the species that survives; it is not the strongest that survives; but the species that survives is the one that is able best to adapt and adjust to the changing environment in which it finds itself.” Dr Leon C. Megginson
In todays world of constant change it is hard to hold on to who you are and manage the complexity and unpredictability of life. The one constant thing in our lives today is change.
Resilience is a quality that enables you to survive and thrive in a world of constant change. Resilient people are always ready for the unpredictable events in their lives. To them change is part of the daily routine of life. It is expected, and in fact, those who are most resilient embrace the opportunities that change brings.
3. Embracing The Power Of Choice
“Today I choose life. Every morning when I wake up I can choose joy, happiness, negativity, pain… To feel the freedom that comes from being able to continue to make mistakes and choices – today I choose to feel life, not to deny my humanity but embrace it.” Kevyn Aucion
Resilient people are comfortable with using the power of choice. They understand the value of the power of choice when dealing with tough decisions or confronting challenging situations. Using the power of choice empowers and strengthens their ability to take action and to make decisions.
They know that they are not responsible for the challenging events in their lives. They also know they are in control of their responses to these events. By embracing the power of choice, resilient people are able to maintain perspective and manage the flow of emotions that they are dealing with in the present moment.
Resilient people are not afraid to to acknowledge their negative feelings, emotions and fears. Instead, they choose not to let these negative fears and emotions take control and immobilize them.Advertising
4. Asking For Help
“Asking for help does not mean that we are weak or incompetent. It usually indicates an advanced level of honesty and intelligence.” Anne Wilson Schaef
Asking for help is not a sign of weakness to a resilient person. Resilient people seek support, advice and encouragement from others when times are tough.
They value the input of others, along with the wisdom and energy to overcome the adversity or solve the problems they are facing. Resilient people do not work or live in isolation. They enjoy belonging to a community and have a very collaborative approach when it comes to decision making and problem solving.
5. Being Self Aware And Connected
Resilient people practice the concept of mindfulness. They pay attention to where they are in the present moment. They are connected to what is important to them in their lives – family and friends. They know who they are and what they stand for.
They are self-aware and are able to monitor the thoughts that flow through them. This allows them to be able to tolerate ambiguity and hold opposing thoughts in their minds at the same time. Instead of reacting to their negative thoughts they will observe these thoughts and then let them pass through like a storm.
Their values and their purpose in life are the foundations from which they lead their lives. Any decision they need to make or any problem they need to solve will be aligned to their beliefs and values.
6. Living to Learn
“By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.” Confucius
Resilient people learn to take charge of their thinking and emotions in order to become resilient. They know that to live a resilient life they must continuously develop and strengthen their skills and abilities to remain strong.
They are survivors and when faced with adversity will ask themselves, “How can I survive this and what do I need to do to overcome this obstacle?” They know their strengths and their vulnerabilities and they are solution-focused thinkers.
They will always look for ways in which they can source the best solution for the problem or challenges they need to overcome. Resilient people are inquisitive, curious and questioning – always seeking information or new knowledge that will help them to be a better and stronger person.Advertising
They acquire new skills and knowledge through life experience, observation, reflection and from the wisdom of others. They believe in the journey of continuous self-improvement and see life challenges and adversity as an opportunity to learn.
Resilient people also understand that to live a resilient life one has to experience life – the good, the bad and the ugly.
7. Valuing The Importance of Health & Well-Being
“Intelligence comes into being when…the mind, the heart and the body are really harmonious” J Krishnamurti
The energy source of resilience comes from the physical and mental strength of a person. A resilient person understands the importance of being physically, emotionally and mentally fit. They understand the importance of consistently following daily healthy habits that nurture and strength their health and well-being. Resilient people look after themselves and value the gift of having a healthy and emotionally strong body and mind.
They value the positive energy they get by surrounding themselves with like-minded people. This positive energy builds and maintains their emotional, physical and mental well-being. Resilient people have healthy and strong relationships which they value and nurture.
8. Practicing Appreciation & Gratitude
People who live a resilient life know that it is not a one-way ticket and that life is not all about them. It is about how they can help and support other people in their lives. They have an deep awareness of people and how they feel. They actively practice gratitude and will always acknowledge their appreciation of others. Resilient people like to serve others and develop supportive and caring relationships.
This strategy of practicing appreciation and gratitude strengthens the emotional resilience in people. Resilient people are grateful and appreciate all the good things they have in their life. When adversity strikes, resilient people are able to keep perspective because they are emotionally resilient.
9. Embrace Failure and Disappointment
“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired and success achieved” Helen Keller
Resilient people have the mindset of a survivor and not a victim. They expect to make mistakes, to fail, and to be disappointed. They know that to be strong, one has to overcome adversity and failure.
They embrace life learning experiences such as failure and disappointment because it enables them to grow and become a better person.Advertising
Resilient people do not seek validation from others to determine their success. They define their success in their own terms.
To help them define their key learnings and how they can move forward in their lives, resilient people will ask these three questions:
1. What went well?
2. What didn’t go so well?
3. What can I do better next time?
Those who are resilient do not typically have a fear of failure and they understand the importance of how they respond to their failures. Resilient people choose to respond to failure by “bouncing back” and starting again.
10. Be Adaptable, Flexible and Flow
“Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way ’round or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves” Bruce Lee
Resilient people understand that life is not static – it is unpredictable and challenging. Adaptability, flexibility and flow are key strengths that enable resilient people to manage the unpredictability of life. These three strengths are also essential for all the other nine resilient strategies that resilient people use to “bounce back” from the challenges of life.
Adaptability, flexibility and flow give resilient people the capacity to cope internally with the complexity of life and the range of positive and negative emotions they will experience in their lives.
If you want to live a resilient life, it is a tough journey because to be resilient you have to experience personal setbacks. This is undoubtedly scary, and for many of us, we choose not to embrace resilience and our life languishes. Resilient people know the huge effort and energy it takes to be able to “bounce back” from the challenges of life.
They use these 10 strategies to build their strength and capacity to lead a resilient life. They choose to embrace the unpredictability of life, the pain and the adversity because they know that the rewards they gain from choosing a resilient life are priceless. It is easy to take these strategies and want to follow them to lead a resilient life, but to actually follow them and live by them is a feat all on its own.
Last Updated on April 11, 2019
How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success
Possessing strong communication skills will help you in every phase of your life. This is especially true in the workplace.
I have personally worked with several leaders who were masters of communication. A few were wonderful speakers who could tell a great story and get everyone in the room engaged. Those of us in attendance would walk away feeling inspired and eager to help with what came next. Others were very skilled at sharing a clear direction and job expectations.
I knew exactly what was expected of me and how to achieve my goals. This was the foundation of an energized and vibrant role I was in. What I have found is strong communication skills are incredibly helpful and sometimes critical in how well we perform at work.
Here we will take a look at how to improve communication skills for workplace success.
Table of Contents
How Communication Skills Help Your Success
Strong communication skills pave the way for success in many ways. Let’s look at a few of the big ones.
Create a Positive Experience
Here are two examples of how well developed communication skills helps create a positive experience:
When I first moved to the city I now live in, I began a job search. Prior to my first live interview, I was told an address to go to. Upon arriving at the address provided, I drove around and around attempting to find the location. After 15 minutes of circling and looking for the address, I finally grabbed a parking spot and set out on foot.
What I discovered was the address was actually down an alley and only had the number over the door. No sign for the actual company. The person that gave me those very unclear directions provided a bad experience for me.
Had they communicated the directions to get there in a clear manner, my experience would have been much better. Instead the entire experience started off poorly and colored the entire meeting.
As a recruiter, I frequently provide potential candidates with information about a job I’m speaking to them about. In order to do this, I also provide a picture of the overall company, the group they might be joining, and how their role fits in and impacts the entire company.
Time and time again I have been told by candidates that I have provided the clearest picture of a company and role they have ever heard. They have a positive experience when I clearly communicate to them. Even when the position does not work out for them, often times they will want to stay in touch with me due to the open communication and beneficial experience they had during the interviewing process.
Strong communication skills will provide a positive experience in virtually any interaction you have with someone.
Help Leadership Skills
It’s certainly a skill all its own to be able to lead others.
Being a mentor and guiding others towards success is a major hallmark of great leaders. Another characteristic of effective leaders is the ability to communicate clearly.
As I referenced above, having a leader who can plainly articulate the company’s mission and direction goes a really long way towards being the Captain of the boat that others want to follow. It’s like saying “here’s our destination and this is how we are going to get there” in a way that everyone can get on board with.
Another critical component of everyone helping to sail the boat in the right direction is knowing what your portion is all about. How are you helping the boat move towards its destination in the manner than is consistent with the leaders’ vision?
If you have a boss or a manager that can show you what it takes for not only you to be successful, but also how your performance helps the company’s success then you’ve got a winner. A boss with superior communication skills.
Build Better Teams
Most of us work in teams of some sort or another. During the course of my career, I have led teams up to 80 and also been an individual contributor.
In my individual contributor roles, I have been part of a larger team. Even if you are in business for yourself, you have to interact with others in one manner or another.
If you have strong communication skills, it helps to build better teams. This is true whether you are in an IT department with 100 other fellow programmers or if you own your own business and have customers or vendors you communicate with.
When you showcase your robust ability to communicate well with others while interacting with them, you are building a better team.
Now let’s jump in to how to improve communication skills to help you pave the way for your workplace success.
How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success
There are many tips, tricks, and techniques to improve communication skills. I don’t want to overwhelm you with too much information, so let’s focus on the things that will provide the biggest return on your time investment.
Most of these tips will be fairly easy to become aware of but will take time and effort to implement. So let’s go!
Ever heard the saying you have two ears and one mouth for a reason? If you haven’t, then here’s the reason:
Being a good listener is half the equation to being a good communicator.
People who have the ability to really listen to someone can then actually answer questions in a meaningful way. If you don’t make the effort to actively listen, then you are really doing yourself and the other person a disservice in the communication department.
Know that person who is chomping at the bit to open his or her mouth the second you stop talking? Don’t be that person. They haven’t listened to at least 1/2 of what you’ve said. Therefore the words that spill out of their mouth are going to be about 1/2 relevant to what you just said.
Listen to someone completely and be comfortable with short periods of silence. Work on your listening skills first and foremost.
2. Know Your Audience
Knowing your audience is another critical component to having strong communication skills. The way you interact with your manager should be different than how you interact with your kids. This isn’t to say you need to be a different person with everyone you interact with. Far from it.
Here is a good way to think about it:
Imagine using your the same choice of words and body language you use with your spouse while interacting with your boss. That puts things in a graphic light!
You want to ensure you are using the type of communication most relevant to your audience.
I have lunch with a business associate about 3 times a year. We’ve been talking for several years now about putting a business deal together.
He is one of those people that simply overwhelms others with a lot of words. Sometimes when I ask him a question, I get buried beneath such an avalanche of words that I’m more confused than when I asked the question. Needless to say this is most likely a large portion of why we never put the deal together.
Don’t be like my lunch business associate. The goal of talking to or communicating with someone is to share actual information. The goal is not to confuse someone, it’s to provide clarity in many cases.
State what needs to be stated as succinctly as possible. That doesn’t mean you can’t have some pleasant conversation about the weather too.
The point is to not create such an onslaught of words and information that the other person walks away more confused than when they started.
4. Over Communicate
So this probably sounds completely counter intuitive to what I just wrote about minimizing your communication. It seems like it might be but it’s not.
What I mean by over communicating is ensuring that the other person understands the important parts of what you are sharing with them. This can be done simply yet effectively. Here’s a good example:
Most companies have open enrollment for benefits for the employees in the fall. The company I work for has open enrollment from November 1 to 15. The benefits department will send out a communication to all employees around October 1st, letting them know open enrollment is right around the corner and any major changes that year. There’s also a phone number and email for people to contact them with any questions.
Two weeks later, we all get a follow up email with basically the same information. We get a 3rd communication the week before open enrollment and another one 1 day before it starts.
Finally we get 2 emails during enrollment reminding us when open enrollment ends.
There’s minimal information, it’s more of a reminder. This is effective over communication.
5. Body Language
The final critical component to how to improve communication skills for workplace success is body language. This is something most of us have heard about before but, a reminder is probably a good idea.
When I am in a meeting with someone I am comfortable with, I tend to kind of slouch down in my chair and cross my arms. When I catch myself doing this, I sit up straight and uncross my arms. I remember that crossing arms can many times be interpreted as a sign of disagreement or conflict.
In general, the best rule of thumb is to work towards having open body language whenever possible at work. This means relaxing your posture, not crossing your arms, and looking people in the eye when speaking with them.
When you are speaking in front of others, stand up straight and speak in a clear voice. This will convey confidence in your words.
Possessing strong communication skills will help you in many facets of your life and most certainly in the workplace.
Good communication helps create better teams, positive experiences with those we interact with, and are critical for leadership.
There are numerous tactics and techniques to be used to improve communication skills. Here we’ve reviewed how to improve communication skills for workplace success.
Now go communicate your way to success.
More Resources About Effective Communication
- Conflict Management Styles for Effective Communication at Work
- How to Master Effective Communication Skills at Work and Home
- How to Work with Different Communication Styles in the Office
- 13 Best Communication Books for Stronger Social Skills & Relationships
Featured photo credit: HIVAN ARVIZU via unsplash.com