Uncertainty is debilitating so how do leaders create powerful mental resilience within teams?

Uncertainty is debilitating so how do you create powerful mental resilience?

Uncertainty is debilitating so under changing and often difficult circumstances how do leaders create powerful mental resilience for their teams at work?

We are aware that seasonal change is inevitable – in the UK anyway! And seasonal adjustment will take up some of our precious mental resources as we adjust to the weather change but also the mental adjustment – as daily habits change and you don’t get outside as much.

Generally, even with SAD, we can bounce back, however, this winter has created more than just a seasonal change. Change has been stacked high and has been served up with a dollop of huge uncertainty with political upheaval and an economic crisis looming large on the horizon.

I’m sure your team, like many I’ve talked to, are asking themselves questions like:

  • “Is my job in jeopardy?”
  • “What will the cost of the economic crisis mean for me and my family?”
  • “How will the business survive?”
  • “Will our customers reduce their spending?”

These modern-day stress dinosaurs are triggering your team’s fight-or-flight response.

The stress response is coming from unanswerable questions. We all react badly to the unknown, nobody likes uncertainty!

It is a basic human function to hate the unknown.

Consider how uncertainty plays out for your team members, and what changes you will notice in their behaviour, attitude and feeling of connectivity.

The stress of uncertainty provokes the ‘fight, flight or fright’ response and this manifests in team members in various ways depending on their natural disposition.

How do different team members react to stress?

For example under stressful conditions, some team members will come out fighting – and this means either fighting with other team members or fighting themselves with personal self-criticism.

Whilst other team members will come out flying which will manifest with them removing themselves from work both mentally and physically – more recently referred to as ‘quiet quitting.’

The third response is fright or the freeze response. Team members find uncertainty debilitating, they cannot move forward or back. They are stuck in a worry cycle of what may or may not be.

If team members are stuck in a cycle of worry or any of the other responses – how does this manifest at work, what does that mean to other team members’ performance or the business in the long run?

Uncertainty is debilitating for team members

Studies show that uncertainty is considered more stressful than the absolute certainty of a bad or even painful outcome.

Research carried out at the University of Virginia revealed that most people would rather know for certain that they’re going to get an electric shock than not be able to predict one. Sitting in the uncertainty of an outcome was more stressful than actually knowing the pain of the outcome.

In this study, the certainty came in the form of mild pain – electric shock! Participants would rather have an electric shock than just sit with their uncertain thoughts for 6 minutes.

Despite the participants previously stating that they would pay money to avoid having an electric shock, the results showed that a large number of participants would not sit with uncertainty.

Rather than sitting and using the time to ‘think’ which is a creative tool, participants felt bored and had trouble controlling their thoughts so a number of participants decided not to control their thoughts but instead end their mental anguish with a quick burst of physical pain!

How many participants exactly?

The stats from the research showed that…

  • 67% of men would rather have a shock than sit with their thoughts and
  • 25% of women would rather have a quick burst of physical pain than sitting with their thoughts.

A significantly high number chose to inflict pain on themselves rather than just sit there quietly and think. And yet studies show that being aware of your thoughts is the best way to uncover new thinking, reveal old biases and create new solutions.

Thinking is a creative tool, so why do so many avoid it?

If you and your team are equipped to deal with ‘uncomfortable thoughts’ and develop the emotional resilience skill then the long-lasting benefit will be a stronger, more resilient mind which means developing the ability to better manage thoughts, and emotions as well as improving daily energy levels.

Staying with your thoughts when faced with stress or challenging situations will mean greater mental dexterity in the longer term and the skill to bounce back after facing and acknowledging what is going on for you.

If you want to know more about this electrifying study drop me an email back I’d be delighted to chat more about the findings.

When uncertainty is debilitating how can team members move forward?

What can team leaders do to improve mental robustness and overcome this uncertainty? Understanding what is happening is vital so that adaptation and change can occur.

The responsibility rests with leaders

The responsibility rests with leaders

Mental resilience is a skill that can be learnt and interesting most leaders already have great resilience skills.

Resilience is what leaders develop to obtain their management positions, a position of authority, and the ability to be able to bounce back and thrive in difficult situations.

The deeper issue is the assumption that leaders have resilience skills that they can draw upon for themselves but that they also have a responsibility for the team’s resilience skills. The team relies on team leaders, and leaders need support, so if you haven’t got a professional, accredited coach – you’ll need one.

Gaining perspective and understanding how to strategically move forward is not something leaders can do for themselves internally, into isn’t a skill that will develop if they keep their ideas to themselves and mull them over in their thoughts.

Hearing your own ideas, and your possible strategies and being heard in a coaching conversation is key to sustaining growth both personally and professionally.

If you are interested in exploring an idea of professional coaching to enhance your resilience skills then reach out via email adelestickland1@gmail.com or book a quick 30 minute session to find out how it works.

How do you create powerful mental resilience?

Mental resilience is vital to create powerful teams that can demonstrate resilience which means understanding what is happening and then being able to consider and reflect and work through the emotional pain

Rather than reacting instantly, it is important to create a gap and take a mental pause so that you can view the situation objectively

Mental Resilience Training allows team members to understand more about what is going on for them, creating recognition of their own behaviour and knowing how to respond to uncertainty.

Mental resilience training includes the skills that will enable your team to develop and improve their adaptability so that when economic uncertainty hits team members can bounce back. Problem-solving is a key attribute of mental resilience which enables team members to find creative solutions to work problems. Resourcefulness and

After all, retaining your team members is a key strategy to being able to ride the economic downturn. History shows us that post-economic downturns are followed by growth. The economy grows after recessions and organisations that retain their staff and don’t make redundancies come back stronger.

Investing in team members when life and work are uncertain is key to retaining key players.

Business Cost of Losing Staff

Business Cost of Losing Staff

The cost of losing staff is well known, the society of Human Resources Management (SHRM) recently quoted that every time a business replaces a salaried employee it costs around 6 to 9 months’ salary.

So for a manager on £40k this would mean a cost of the business of £30k. It is easy to see the business cost of losing a more senior manager, or a high-flying key performer in terms of time, energy as well as financial loss.

For organisations committed to the wellbeing of their staff and placing a high value on employee welfare means that pacing the happiness of their staff as a priority, wanting employees to be happy and healthy and doing the right thing is considered to be part of a successful company’s DNA.

If your business is committed to reaching and maintaining a certain headcount to ensure that teams are not too stretched and are able to manage workload during busy times then reach out to discuss training and facilitations around mental resilience

If you are interested in supporting your team’s mental resilience with a bespoke Mental Resilience Training Programme then reach out so and book a quick call so that we can identify the needs of your team and what will work for them and your business.

Book a quick 30 minute session to find out how it works.

What others have to say about Mental Resilience Training

To support organisations with performance issues and boost productivity contact Adele to co-create a Resilient Programme that is bespoke to your organisation.

Next steps

To support organisations with performance issues and boost productivity contact Adele to co-create a Resilient Programme that is bespoke to your organisation.

A programme that will include personalised training as well as coaching sessions that develop personal and professional growth for the individual and a strong proactive, solution-finding, organisational culture for your business.

Adele Stickland
International Author + Workplace Resilience Trainer + Accredited ICF Coach
Blog | Whitepaper | LinkedIn | Work together in Q1 2023

If your organisation is looking to incorporate a resilience programme please email me to discuss your organisational requirements or book an appointment straight in my diary

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Adele Stickland

Business Psychologist & ICF Accredited Coach | Expert in Team Dynamics & Communication Working with organisations to improve team dynamics and psychological safety by creating collaborative & productive teams. An MSc in organisational psychology and awards in education and training enable me to combine evidence-based approaches & tools to support individuals and groups in professional & personal development #Highperformanceteams #Millennialworkforce #Leadershipdevelopment #Employeeretentionstrategies #Millennialjobhopping #Managingmillennials #Teamengagement #Workforcemobility #Professionalgrowthandmentoring #Organisationalculturemillennials

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