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In Tough Times, Resilience can Weather the Storm

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In tough times, when faced with the possibility of losing a job, staff look to organizational leadership for answers. Your response as a manager is key to ensuring the organization continues to operate in a professional manner and the staff minimizes its stress during the reorganization or reduction in workforce (RIF). In my experience, it is important for managers to engage in truthful, candid conversations during job loss and to empower staff to persist and rise above the rumors. Following are several strategies you can use to get through tough times.

Don’t be a Victim

Life as you’ve known it may be changing, but don’t be a victim. Instead, embrace the change and learn as much about the situation you are facing as possible. Resistance to change will not help you to survive the inevitable. The less time and effort you expend anticipating the worst possible outcome, the more time you’ll have to concentrate on the positive realities. Gratitude is a powerful tool for replacing fear with things that bring you happiness and stability.

Count Your Blessings

When you are experiencing difficult times, it is easy to present a brooding face to the world. To combat these feelings, remind yourself that you are not the only one facing a bump in the road. A wise man once said, “I complained that I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet.” When you set aside your ego and move beyond circumstances that are out of your control, then it is possible to appreciate the blessings that you have in your life.

Reach Out for Help

Seeking and accepting support during tough times makes sense, yet we often decline help in order to appear strong and independent. In a 2011 article written by Elaine Shpungin Ph.D., she discusses some tips on How to Survive and Thrive When Times are Tough. When faced with tough circumstances:

Say “yes” to offers of support

Reach out to friends

Email regular updates to friends and family

Admit you are “having a tough time”

Show a range of emotions to share that you feel “sad” or “worried”

• Support one another by exercising more, eating better, and going to sleep earlier

Take time out to grieve and let others know why you are doing it

Seek professional help when needed (i.e. counseling, house cleaning, etc.) the bottom line is to remain positive, rather than focus on the worst-case scenario. Embrace the facts and weigh the pros and cons of alternative courses of action. Employ a support system and keep busy to maintain stability. Keep your spirits up and demonstrate a positive attitude. These tips will make life brighter and less challenging when faced with tough times.

Elaine Shpungin Ph.D., How to Survive and Thrive When Times are Tough, December 2011, Psychology Today.


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