Over the past year the pandemic has impacted all of us in many ways, both in our work and in our personal lives. This impact has been wide-ranging and deeply concerning, leading many of us to face some fundamental questions, such as: ‘what is happening to us across the world?’, ‘will I keep my job?’, ‘how will I survive?’
Finding ways to help our teams to develop their critical thinking, resilience and identity will make a difference to them in their work and lives.
As we emerge from lockdown, it’s important for HR professionals to turn their attention to supporting employees to recover, reconnect and re-engage with each other and their work.
Learning from new insights
Whilst up until recent times the notion of a pandemic was unfamiliar to many of us, research into different sorts of change can help us to navigate and know what personal resources are useful to deal with such disruption.
We researched differing magnitudes of change, from large scale (for example war), through to more local sized (for example organisational change) and personal (for example divorce, bereavement). From this research, we pinpointed what resources helped people to manage in these situations.
Three resources were repeatedly highlighted as being useful when dealing with such unprecedented change:
We’ve explored each of these in turn below, providing research-backed tips on how to cultivate these to better navigate through change.
In a research project in 2019 on career mobility, we defined critical thinking as ‘our ability to make sense of situations using both analytical and conceptual thinking’. Analytical thinking is the ability to break things down to its component parts, whilst conceptual thinking involves the ability to join the dots and see the bigger picture.
As well as making sense of the changing circumstances and threats, it can be drawn upon to explore what these changes mean for us. As such, critical thinking can help us to understand and anticipate the implications of change for us in our life, including our relationships, work, finances and capabilities.
Tips for cultivating critical thinking:
In the past, resilience was emphasised as someone’s ability to bounce back and remain resolute and strong when faced with pressure. More recent findings, however, emphasise the importance of remaining agile within such adverse conditions, enabling us to be adaptive and grow through such challenging experiences.
Building resilience matters as it is increasingly being seen as a shield to protect our psychological wellbeing. It has also been proven to support improved physical health leading to reduction in heart disease, high blood pressure, sleep disturbance, and immune system challenges.
Tips for cultivating resilience:
According to Professor Dan P McAdams, identity can be defined as the ongoing crafting of a narrative informed by experiences and future expectations or ambitions. As well as helping to make sense of past experiences, it can help to bring a collective coherence to what has happened to us alongside personal aspirations and ambitions.
Consequently, during such a significant time of change, the ability to evolve and reform our identity enables us to both make sense of who we are during a shifting situation and regain a sense of personal control where our personal influence may have been challenged.
Tips for cultivating our identity:
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Whilst the pandemic has been incredibly challenging for us in many ways, there are some practical steps that allow us to support employees to recover, reconnect and re-engage with each other and their work. Finding ways to help our teams to develop their critical thinking, resilience and identity will make a difference to them in their work and lives.
This content was originally published here.