How can managers best support their people through the confluence of challenges presented to them through lockdown, an economic downturn and uniquely challenging home situations? Emotional resilience is key; those with innately high levels will have a psychological buffer of ‘resources’ to help them cope, those without this advantage will benefit most from targeted support from their managers and employers.
What is emotional resilience?
Emotional resilience refers to a person's ability to adapt to stressful situations or crises. Those with more emotional resilience are able to adapt and deal with stress and life’s challenges more easily than someone with less, who will have a harder time with stress and adapting to change whether big or small. Fortunately, through self-awareness, emotional resilience is a trait that can be developed.
Our behavioural profiling tool (PPA) can help identify those feeling stressed and our new Managing Remote Workers report provides an understanding of a person’s communication styles, helping you to keep employees engaged plus prevent burnout and work-related stress for those unable to switch off.
To truly gauge a person’s emotional resilience though, measuring their emotional intelligence is key. Read about how our in-house strategy team are coping with the challenges of the current environment, using both the PPA and TEIQue assessments to guide conversations within in the team and adapting to the individual needs of the individuals within it.
The Strategy Team at Thomas International
The Strategy team at Thomas International is a great example of a team composed of very different psychometric profiles, but who work exceptionally well together. We approached Luis, Head of Group Strategy, to understand the team dynamic and see how he adapts his managerial style according to differences in the team in association with emotional resilience. The main goal of the Strategy Team is to grow the business through supporting all of the Senior Leadership Team and understand their challenges and provide solutions and recommendations, backed by data.
None of the team have a Psychology background, but instead have a great understanding of Thomas assessments and how to use them for self-awareness and management.
Luis leads the team and reports into Guy our COO/CEO; he has been with Thomas for a year and 3 months, having come from a background in strategy consulting for c. 6 years. He completed the “Masters in Management” programme at London Business School in 2012, after moving from Portugal to the UK in 2011.
Hanna is a Strategy Research Analyst reporting into Luis; she has been with Thomas for 6 months, having completed her Master’s in Data Science at University College London. Hanna is Hungarian and moved to the UK in 2015.
Phoebe is also a Strategy Research Analyst in the team; she has worked at Thomas for over a year and a half, moving into the Strategy Team full time about 6 months ago, following her work in the Marketing team and International team.
As a team, they rely on our assessments to be the foundation for these types of conversations:
Proactivity, looking at Behavioural assessment/PPA traits:
Both Phoebe and Hanna can successfully take ownership of projects, but this proactive approach comes more naturally to Phoebe. This is possibly due to their differences in behaviour when under pressure. Hanna has a Behavioural (PPA) profile led by a passive factor, ‘Compliance’, whereas Phoebe has a PPA profile with ‘Influence’ as the leading factor, followed by ‘Dominance,’ both of which are active factors. Therefore, Phoebe takes on a proactive role more naturally than Hanna tends to. When Luis needs Hanna to take initiative and be more proactive this is phrased as a clear instruction/guidance, which she prefers in writing. Hanna delivers the best results when she has clear instructions to work on.
Luis PPA and TEIQue:
Stress Management, looking at Emotional Intelligence/TEIQue traits:
Hanna finds stressful situations notably easier to deal with than Phoebe, as can be seen in their varied levels of stress management in their TEIQue reports. Luis has a significantly higher score for this trait, so he makes a conscious effort to check-in regularly to gauge the teams’ stress levels, as this does not come naturally to him. This applies in general to people with high scores in any traits, but especially to Luis given his relatively low emotion perception (he finds it difficult to understand other people’s emotions). To assess this, Luis asks the team directly and frequently how stressed they are. When Phoebe has low levels of stress, her productivity increases, her work is of a higher quality and generally she is happier at work. In response to this, Luis proactively tries to mitigate the risk of tasks that could cause stress to Phoebe, such as large lists and long working hours, which have been identified as the biggest causes. For Hanna when her stress levels are too low, she does not produce the best results. Hanna produces the best work when she knows she is working on very important tasks for the Board or Senior Leadership Team under tight deadlines.
Phoebe PPA and TEIQue:
Managing uncertainty, looking at Emotional Intelligence/TEIQue traits:
Managing uncertainty is another key skill associated with emotional resilience. Once again, Hanna and Phoebe display differences in their natural ability to adjust to changing circumstances. Since Hanna finds uncertainty more unsettling, Luis adapts his management style to reduce Hanna’s uncertainties and provide as much clarity for the next few weeks/months as possible. This contrasts to the way Luis manages Phoebe’s workload, instead giving her projects to deliver end-to-end, with her determining the specific tasks within the projects and keeping flexibility.
Hanna PPA and TEIQue:
How to manage them remotely, looking at the Managing Remote Workers report
During the Covid-19 lockdown and with all of the Thomas employees working remotely, Luis has had to adjust his management style again. Using Thomas' Managing Remote Workers report, Luis has been able to identify the potential challenges that Hanna and Phoebe may have whilst working remotely and how he can best support them during this period of time. "The Managing Remote Workers report gave me a good summary of what a manager needs to do in a 'crisis'. It reminded me of preferred communication styles and motivational factors for each team member. Everyone shared the report with each other by email, so we are all aware of each other's communication preferences. Also, as a manager I scheduled more frequent and less formal 121 conversations to measure the pulse of the team and adjusted their requests/suggestions for improvement. We also tried different things to see what works best and then keep the things that work well. We tried 'working at the same time zoom calls', especially for those with high Influence in their profile. We tried more structured catch ups to answer specific questions for the high Cs etc. Currently we have a 3 times a week social catch up as a team and I do my best to respond in writing throughout the day to any questions I receive, most of them from Hanna."
We hope you found the above example helpful and you can apply it to your team. If you have any questions about our Strategy Team, please feel free to reach out to them: [email protected], [email protected] and [email protected]
For more information and the practical application of our assessments to measure and manage emotional resilience in your teams, please watch our webinar on demand, Emotional Resilience: How to manage your teams through a crisis.
If you would like more information on the Managing Remote Workers report or any of the other assessments mentioned in this article, please contact us today.