Managing Work Obstacles: The Resilience Mindset

In order to move from a place of simply getting by in the office to a place of thriving, resilience is a necessary trait. At a basic level resilience is our ability to work through tough assignments and bounce back from situations like missed deadlines on tasks and difficulties encountered like Coronavirus and the toll it’s taking on business and personal lives.

At a more complex level, the resilience mindset embraces the idea that true resilience is the ability to navigate work, adapt to change, learn through adversity, and understand feelings and emotional responses to difficult situations. In order for this to be achieved, there must be a high level of personal awareness and insight which leads to a deep understanding of self (O’Keeffe, 2019).

Resilience mindset

Resilience is an asset sought-after employees must embrace when it comes to managing adversity because it helps them to overcome it. Rather than crumbling under the pressure and weight of every challenge encountered, they become able to assess the challenge, learn and grow from it as they go through it, and then move forward with the lessons they’ve been taught (O’Keeffe, 2019). It is resilience that empowers workers to continue moving forward, learning, and growing, and building on the things they are learning from setbacks or failure to deliver expected results at work.

Keys to Developing a Resilient Mindset

In order to develop a resilient mindset, there are several qualities and practices that can be implemented. The following outlines several of those qualities and practices and their relation to the development of resilience.


A strong trait of those with a resilient mindset is an intentional optimistic outlook when approaching challenging situations. The way a worker views a situation shapes the approach they take when dealing with the situation.

A more positive outlook tends to yield a more positive outcome because your staff sees opportunities as opposed to obstacles, and thus enthusiastically address issues versus hesitantly avoiding them (Mind Tools, 2020). Leading psychologist Martin Seligman explains that optimism is linked to resilience in that it helps employees’ views on permanence, pervasiveness, and the personalization of hardships.

Optimism leads your staff to see bad events as temporary rather than permanent, to prevent setbacks from impacting unrelated areas of their jobs, and to not blame themselves when bad events occur. Thus, workers can better pivot and recover from challenges they experience (Mind Tools, 2020).

Focus on What You Can Control

Learning to focus on what is within their control and releasing those things that are not is an important part of developing resilience. It is only those things within their control that gives staff the ability to influence, thus exerting physical or mental and emotional energy on things outside of their control is mismanagement of time and energy (Miller, 2020). Employees who spend their time and energy on what they can control become more resilient because they put their efforts towards those things that will have the greatest impact and produce the most results. This allows them to actually be effective and respond better to situations that arise (Mind Tools, 2020).


Self-awareness is critical to the development of a resilient mindset. Self-awareness helps staff to assess areas of themselves and their lives where it’s necessary to improve and areas that is producing favorable results.

Self-awareness offers staff key insights about themselves that can be used to change, adapt, grow, or alter themselves, their workplace environment, or other elements. This ultimately contributes to resilience by helping keep patterns and habits that help adapt and respond to challenges while becoming aware of and purging patterns and habits that work against their goals and targets.

If your staff can cultivate a resilient mindset their ability to cope with job-related challenges will be strengthened. Rather than being overcome by negative situations and circumstances they will become empowered to overcome those situations and circumstances. By implementing the practices mentioned and others like it, they’ll be one step closer to better navigating the difficulties they encounter.


Miller, K. (2020). 5+ ways to develop a growth mindset using grit and resilience.

Mind Tools. (2020). Developing resilience: Overcoming and growing from setbacks.

O’Keeffe, S. (2019, March 11). 4 aspects of a resilient mindset.

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