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How to confront adversity


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In view of the fact that the economic crisis is still hitting and organisations are looking for ways to improve efficiency and reduce costs, it is inevitable that employees are on the front line when pressure starts to rise.   The wellbeing of professionals has a direct impact on the wellbeing of the organisation.

Organisations can do a great deal to prevent unnecessary pressure from affecting their personnel.  Some of the measures to help workers in these turbulent times can be the Employee Assistance Program,  Medical Service, and the managers who have the ability to identify and help those who may be most affected by the increased pressure.

Even with the best available help, knowing how to properly combat the challenges of working in this recession environment often depends on the individual’s personal aptitudes for dealing with adversity.

Research into different sources has identified a series of key characteristics that can make people resilient to adversity:

1. Emotional intelligence

This means being conscious of your feelings and, more importantly, being capable of controlling your emotions by “taking the driver’s seat” yourself  rather than allowing your emotions to control you.

This process involves identifying the thoughts behind what you feel so as to be capable of taking action and creating a new emotional and more effective response.  This is the basis of cognitive-behavioural psychology.

2. Self-control

The ability to handle uncertainty and delay the desire to act immediately or impulsively, evaluating the situation and weighing the options before taking action.

3. Balanced optimism

Maintaining a realistic and optimistic outlook on life allows a more effective approach  to setbacks and pressure than a pessimistic approach.  However, in some circumstances, a degree of pessimism can act as a useful reality check.

In the majority of situations, maintaining a positive and optimistic outlook is beneficial and can frequently contribute to creating self-fulfilling prophecy.  Some experts on resilience claim that this is the most important characteristic.

4. Problem analysis

Examining problems in a logical and not overly emotional way helps the precise identification of the root of the problem, and leads to thinking about realistic and practical alternative solutions.

5. Empathy

The ability to recognise and interpret what other people say, together with their body language, provides us with key information regarding their emotional and psychological state.

This is an extremely useful tool which is invaluable for establishing and maintaining relationships, and provides essential support when someone is confronting adverse situations.

6. Self-confidence

This is an important tool when we are faced with the challenges of life.  Believing in our skills to solve problems on a frequent basis is the factor that best determines the final result.

7. Risk taking

Being resilient also involves the ability to step outside the “comfort zone” and take some calculated risks.  If you impose limits on yourself, it is less probable that you will achieve personal growth beyond the challenges and difficulties that you are confronting.  It is more probable that “resistant” people attempt new ways of doing things, accepting the fact that making mistakes is part of the learning process.

8. Staying fit

Sometimes the connection between the body and the mind can be overlooked.  Paying attention to diet, exercise, relaxation and sleep patterns enables you to maintain both your physical fitness and mental wellbeing.

These characteristics  can be important, especially in the current economic climate, where people increasingly have to confront changes at work and in their lifestyle.

Some people seem to have a natural ability in many of these areas.  The good news is that these characteristics can be helped and developed through training.

Organisations that invest in strengthening their staff’s resilience are emerging from the recession in a stronger position that those competitors who decided to do nothing.



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