When IT Hits The Fan How Do You React?

You know how it is. Everything is happening at once, and then one more thing gets added or goes wrong. When IT hits the fan, how do your company personnel react? Do they respond negatively or positively to stress and difficulty?


Psychologists believe people have a choice of how to react when things get tough. Your workers’ responses can be negative or positive and reflect how well they maintain control. Researchers have divided possible reactions to stressful situations to compare and contrast the differences of being distressed or being resilient.

• Overwhelming or Opportunity
• Blame or Responsibility
• Distract or Commit
• Allow or Act
• Impatience or Patience
• Pessimistic or Optimistic

Overwhelming or Opportunity

When things are tough, do your employees see their situation as overwhelming or as an opportunity? Being overwhelmed by change, challenges, and difficulties is a negative reaction. If things often seem overwhelming to your staff, they haven’t learned effective ways to cope with stress. Their negative response will keep them from overcoming a challenge and achieving more in their careers.

The positive reaction to when IT hits the fan is to see the challenge as an opportunity to learn and grow. People can’t avoid stress. Instead, they can use difficult situations to find new ways to solve problems. As your workers learn to see change as an opportunity, they learn and grow as a person.

Blame or Responsibility

Do any of your team think that everything wrong in their performance is someone else’s fault? Laying blame on other employees or supervisors for mistakes doesn’t negate your employees’ part in a difficult situation. Blaming others gives control away and keeps workers from overcoming obstacles.

Taking responsibility for their own actions allows workers to improve and better their situation. Control over their position and performance is basically theirs. Taking responsibility for their performance allows them to make needed changes to learn and grow.

Distract or Commit

Do your workers spend most of their time fantasizing about running away from their work and responsibilities? When IT hits the fan, distressed people often walk away from the challenge. They may even turn to alcohol and other drugs to distract themselves from their lack of control and their failures. When one of your team can’t face a difficult situation, they may quit their job or end a relationship, and distract themselves with something new. But if they don’t learn to deal with stress, their mistakes will follow them in their career and keep them from achieving new goals.

Resilient employees commit to their goals. They understand that while they may need to adjust their plans, reaching a goal requires commitment. If , on the contrary, they don’t get distracted by difficulties, they are showing signs of resilience.

Allow or Act

Allowing challenges like COVID-19 to keep you staff from company and personal goals is a negative reaction to difficulty. When they blame others, lose your control, and get distracted from finding solutions to work problems, they allow problems to stop themselves and maybe their team from succeeding.

If your staff are resilient, they have a goal and a plan. When they know they have control of themselves, they take action to improve their performance. Because you’re committed to helping your workforce learn and grow, you provide them the tools needed to make changes and overcome challenges.

Impatience or Patience

Challenges can create delays in reaching goals. If your workers are too impatient, they may give up their goals too quickly and never succeed. Even when IT hits the fan, you can’t insist on an immediate solution. Some goals require commitment and patience.

Patience takes practice. Are your employees willing to deny themselves an immediate distraction but instead commit to the work needed to achieve their goals? Taking a break can’t become permanent if they want to succeed.

Pessimistic or Optimistic

Ultimately, how your subordinates react to stress and success depends on if their reactions are pessimistic or optimistic. Pessimistic reactions limit ability to overcome challenges. Optimistic reactions give them the control and skills needed to succeed.

Need Assistance Hiring Resilient Workers

If you need some assistance in recruiting and hiring more resilient workers in this uncertain labor market, contact Flexicrew Today.

The Connection Between Insight and Resilience

Resilience is a characteristic that speaks to our ability to recover or bounce back from difficulties we experience in life. Insight is a trait that speaks to our capacity to gain an accurate and deep intuitive understanding of a person or thing. Insight offers great value when it comes to the pursuit of resilience because insight allows you to see yourself for who you truly are.

This type of self-reflection and self-analysis can show you what personal barriers may exist within yourself that are keeping you from becoming the resilient person you desire to be. It is via insight that you can begin a reflective process that leads to self-improvement which can lead to enhanced resilience.


A 2016 study published in Social Behavior and Personality An International Journal pointed to the link between self-insight and self-reflection, and resilience and stress among competitive South African Tennis players.

Approximately 175 male and 158 female athletes were given the Self-Reflection and Insight Scale, the Resilience Scales for Adults, and the stress items from the Recovery-Stress Questionnaire for Athletes. The results demonstrated that self-insight and self-reflection were positively correlated with resilience and that self-insight was negatively correlated with stress.

Additionally, multivariate regression analysis revealed that self-insight was the single greatest predictor in mitigating stress and promoting resilience among tennis athletes (Cowden & Meyer-Weitz, 2016).

How to Cultivate the Self-Insight

Developing the ability to intuitively understand yourself is something that can be cultivated. The following outlines some ways to go about cultivating self-insight in your daily life.

Ask Questions

It is important to take the time to ask questions that will allow you to reflect back on things you did, ways you felt, thoughts you had, or decisions you made. This gives you the opportunity to assess those things you did well, and make necessary adjustments in areas where you did not perform so well. By asking reflective questions such as “Why did I choose that course of action? How could I have responded differently?”, you are able to alter those things that will get you closer towards being more resilient and eliminate those things keeping you from reaching that same goal (Minimalism Made Simple, 2019).

Set & Assess Goals

Goals are a great way to gain deeper insight and understanding about yourself. Setting goals and then checking your progress against those specific goals lets you see how effective you actually are given the steps you are taking. Based on what you assess you can then choose to continue replicating those actions that are leading you closer to your desired goals and alter/eliminate those actions that are not producing favorable results (Minimalism Made Simple, 2019).

Input from Colleagues

An important part of gaining insight about yourself is soliciting the input of those around you. Other people experience you in ways and notice things about you that you probably overlook easily. Checking with peers in your inner circle will likely offer you pertinent details and information about yourself that will help you see where you need to improve and what you can continue doing to get you towards your goals.

Assess Your Feelings

Our feelings are great tools for helping us to gain a deeper understanding and awareness about ourselves. Taking the time to check-in with ourselves about how we feel can tell us whether we are harboring emotions that are helping us or hindering us. For instance, if we uncover that we are feeling stressed, anxious, sad, or angry that might reveal emotional barriers keeping us from reaching goals an becoming more resilient. Meanwhile, feelings of calm and satisfaction might indicate we are emotionally stable and well-equipped to be resilient (Kenney, 2020).

As we seek to become more resilient, we should also seek to know ourselves more and on a deeper level. Engaging in thoughtful practices such as those mentioned above will help foster more self-insight which will lead to more understanding of self. This creates a great foundation for resilience to build upon.


Cowden, R., & Meyer-Weitz, A. (2016, August 18). Self-reflection and self-insight predict resilience and stress in competitive tennis. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/307525716_Self-reflection_and_Self-insight_Predict_Resilience_and_Stress_in_Competitive_Tennis

Kennedy, T. (2020, March 5). How self-reflection gives you a happier and more successful life. Retrieved from https://www.lifehack.org/696285/how-self-reflection-gives-you-a-happier-and-more-successful-life

Minimalism Made Simple. (2019, November 10). 15 essential ways to practice self-reflection — Minimalism made simple. Retrieved from https://www.minimalismmadesimple.com/home/self-reflection

5 Reasons Adversity Is Your Workforce’ Greatest Gift

Adversity is defined by Dictionary.com as “a condition marked by misfortune, calamity, or distress.” While no one enjoys experiencing adverse circumstances, adversity can play a significant role in personal growth and development by aiding in the generation of critical skills and knowledge. In this way, adversity can prove to be one of the greatest gifts for your workforce and learning to embrace it can result in several benefits for both your personnel and your company.

overcoming-adversity-Zig Ziglar

1. Self-Awareness

Self-awareness is a conscious knowledge of one’s own feelings, motives, and desires. Facing misfortune and calamity creates opportunities for workers to reflect on how they feel more often than when things tend to be more stable and less chaotic There is something about adversity that generally causes your people to become more in tune with how they feel, what they want, and what might be the driving force behind their actions or responses to a given situation. There is also time to examine what previously taken actions or decisions may have contributed to the current negative outcome or situation.

It is this process of reflection during uncertain situations like Coronavirus and the resultant recession that makes the practice of reflection become more natural and habitual. Eventually, it is something that can be implemented not just during times of adversity, but even during times of stability. It is through the process of continual reflection and subsequent improvement and adjustment that growth can be achieved and work performance improved (Future of Work, 2017).

2. Patience

Adversity plays a critical role in building patience. Typically, when we face adversity in life and at work it is not quick and in a hurry. Thus, going through hardships that tend to be prolonged teaches your entire workforce from Management to temporary workers how to endure during hardships that may not be quick to cease. We learn how to gain self-control over our emotions and responses as we wait for the adversity to pass. This helps develop patience so that we can navigate hardships in the future (Hurd, 2019).

3. Resilience

Resilience speaks to how well we are able to recover from the challenges and hardships that we face in life. As it turns out, facing and overcoming adversity helps to build resilience. A study of approximately 2000 workers monitored mental health and general well-being for a period of several years. Participants were monitored via online surveys and were asked to list troubling events such as divorce, loss of job, or natural disasters that occur before the survey began. They also reported on adverse events that happened during the survey period.

The results of the study showed that those who had previously endured hardships were happier afterward. Psychologist Roxane Cohen Silver, Ph.D. from the University of California Irvine noted that individuals who experienced challenges were given the opportunity to learn how to overcome adversity, which allowed them to develop coping strategies, identify support networks, and build the confidence needed to persevere and continue to work at a high level (WebMD, 2011).

4. Relationships

During times of adversity, workers often realize they need the support and assistance of peers and associates in order to make it through those tough times. While adversity can certainly put a strain on many relationships, people often find that adversity creates a foundation for workplace relationships to be strengthened as well.

When things are not going well teams typically have to come together to pool ideas, resources, strength, etc. as a means of helping them overcome the obstacle. This process forces members of your team to communicate, be vulnerable, be transparent, and offer support for others on their team in a way that ultimately enhances the nature and strength of the overall relationship and establishes shared goals and more streamlined work processes (Future of Work, 2017).

5. Knowledge

Facing challenges and adversity provides the chance for an individual employee to gain information and skills. When faced with hardship we often have to problem-solve as a means of overcoming adversity.

This means doing the work of identifying the problem(s), consulting the resources, analyze possible solutions, and select and implement options. This process not only helps your staff to  learn to address the issue at hand, but it also helps with the development of skills that can be applied to future work situations such as problem-solving skills, analytical skills, research skills, and others (Hurd, 2019).

Adversity is a gift because it helps team members to challenge and extend themselves beyond the limits they normally set. It is through adversity that they are able to develop the self-awareness, patience, resilience, knowledge, and strong relationships needed to help to continue to successfully navigate ups and downs in their workplace.


4 reasons to embrace adversity. (2017, June 21). Future Of Work. https://fowmedia.com/4-reasons-embrace-adversity/

Emotional well-being: The benefits of adversity. (2011, December 27). WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/balance/features/emotional-wellbeing-benefits-of-adversity

Hurd, S., & A.A. (2019, March 9). Why facing adversity in life can be good for you and how to get through hardships. Learning Mind. https://www.learning-mind.com/facing-adversity-in-life/comment-page-1/


What Doesn’t Kill You, Makes You Stronger and Resilient

Resilience. This ability has risen to the forefront and become a more prominent topic of discussion particularly over the course of 2020 for most of us, but even before that in recent times due to natural disasters, market forces and technological change. It has been recognized as a concept that can be applied in all facets of your life, including personal and professional – at home and in the workplace. It greatly strengthens your ability to cope with threats, whether they are anticipated or unforeseen.

Resilience is complex; it’s a multifaceted idea that can be useful for dealing with stress, risk, shock, and environmental changes. Often, resilience is posed as the opposite of vulnerability. That’s a simplistic view, seeing as they are relative terms. However, just as you have certain vulnerabilities, you can build resilience to them. In a way, they do absolutely go hand-in-hand.

Workplace Resilience

Resilience is heavily related to capacity. It’s a broad concept that stretches far beyond plans, resources, and actions. You may find that some people use capacity and resilience interchangeably.

Let’s clarify this now. Resilience is two-pronged – a desired outcome and the process resulting in that outcome. For example, you want to build a safe, resilient workplace and in order to achieve that end, you have to enable people and empower the workforce to adapt and show them how to become more resilient.

What – Defining Resilience

First and foremost, resilience is a skill, and not a trait. This is great news because it means anyone can build resilience; you don’t have to be born with it.

If you type resilience definition into your search engine, you will likely find a series of answers. It means a lot of different things in many different contexts.

However, the straightforward definition is this – the ability to anticipate, absorb, and accommodate/recover from an unsettling event or ongoing situation in a timely fashion and efficiently. This may include preserving, restoring, or improving existing situations, structures, or functions.

You can see from that description, that the word resilience can be applied to more than just individuals. It can be applied to corporations, communities, and even processes. However, our focus is on individual workers. To break it down to its base level – resilience is the ability to bounce back. Let’s break it down further.


This is the person, system, or process that is facing interruption. The resilience of what?


This is the dire situation, the shock or stressor. The resilience to what?

Capacity to Cope

This includes peoples’ exposure to an issue, their sensitivity to it, and their capacity to adapt.


Your work team’s (or your) reaction to the disturbance is the impulse to survive and cope, to recover and learn, and to transform. Your capacity to deal with an issue forms your reaction to it – it influences your ability to bounce back.

Further Details

The COVID pandemic has brought about radical change in the work environment and increased the need for greater resilience for companies and their employees to cope and even thrive when faced with monumental levels of stress.

Flexicrew has faced and faced-down our stressors and have observed clients, leaders, workers and candidates who have dealt with difficult current circumstances and either persevered or didn’t have the capacity to cope.

Over the next month we will explore this concept of resilience and identify tools to improve your resilience and that of your peers and personnel.