Psychological Resilience in the workplace

What is Psychological Resilience?

Psychological resilience is the ability to mentally or emotionally cope with a crisis or to return to pre-crisis status quickly. Over time, the concept of psychological resilience and the interest in it has gained so much momentum. Although some people are born with more resilience than others, those with lower levels of resilience can learn how to boost their ability to cope, thrive and flourish when they feel that the environment is becoming challenging.

Like many that may be reading this, I am no stranger to adversity at the workplace.  Downsizing, retrenchments, fraud or corruption, office politics and the likes are commonplace in many workplaces. In the workplace environments I have experienced; I have had the front row seat to lies, manipulation, favouritism, bullying and incompetence.

As an ethical over- achiever I felt that my livelihood was being threatened. It was then that my resilience became a survival tactic for me in the workplace.

The importance of resilience in the workplace is sometimes underestimated.

WE constantly have to find tactics to differentiate ourselves from our peers for attention and opportunities.  Use every opportunity to build strong connections and relationships with others because we cannot reach great heights on our own. This can be done through effective communication and engaging in active listening. Become responsive to your colleague’s emotions and assist them to achieve their key deliverables. These are some of the things that assisted me as an avid team player, I aimed for win – win situations with my fellow colleagues.

Developing and maintaining personal and professional networks outside the organisation for wise counsel becomes a key asset in the long term because it builds on the base of knowledge; and contacts that one can always pull on in time of need. These networks need to be nurtured on a foundation of trust. In a digital age, one of the tools I used to maintain these relationships was Social Media. This platform allowed me to manage my stress effectively so that it was not detrimental to my psychological well-being.

Resilience is a multi-dimensional facet consisting of factors like behaviours, thoughts, actions, attitudes and skills. For my corporate survival, I had to enhance my resilience through various strategies to overcome the different adversities.  I remained flexible so that I could adapt to adversities, grow in emotional intelligence and develop my leadership skills. This was done in conjunction with a keen focus on a positive work-life balance.

In a nutshell, the workplace is embedded with stress and burnouts are very imminent. Resilience is a  critical life skill that is essential to survival. The body and the mind are interrelated and a healthy mindset will result in a healthy body.


Deshnee Govender holds a BAdmin(Hons in Public Administration) degree from the University of Durban Westville. She also has a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) from the Milpark Business School. In addition to this, she is drafting a proposal for a PhD. Deshnee has vast experience in Public office spanning over decades and is interested in improving workplace dynamics and Industrial Psychology.

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