Once again we have “the festive season” upon us! A couple of weeks of the year when we can be merry, socialise, eat, give, receive and hopefully get the time to just “chill”. For those of us who are able to take a “break”, how do we make sure that we use the time to “recharge our batteries” rather than starting a New Year with lower energy levels than when we left?
Before we skip down the path to merriness, it may be beneficial to acknowledge where the path starts. We are not suggesting lying in a dark room and replaying each situation over and over, more acknowledging them. Factors attributed to work-related stress (Leka, & Jain, 2010; British standards Institution, 2011) can be referred to as Psychosocial Hazards and include organisational culture, relationships at work, job content, work schedule, work load and pace. So, if your end of year is like a lot of people’s, you may have experienced the ramped up pressure of delivering BEFORE THE END OF THE YEAR and your Psychosocial Hazards may have gone into overdrive! Whether this be delivering on a project, meeting yearly goals (or explaining why not) or wrapping up loose ends until next year, it can be exhausting and stressful. This may be particularly so for leaders who may have the responsibility of acting as a role model and representative of the organisation.
As Judith Rosenblum’s “Breakthrough Model” shows us, for any change to occur successfully we must acknowledge where we are starting from (current reality) before trying to achieve our desired state (destination). What may be worthwhile is to acknowledge what your Psycholigical Hazards have been, think about how you responded and ask whether your response enabled you to be effective or cost you in some way. This way you can focus on strengthening your resilience in ways that directly relate to you individually and that way “charge your batteries”properly.
The context in which we operate or external factors that influence or impact us are very important to acknowledge. However, just because we are no longer in the same context (work environment) does not mean that we will respond to stressful factors differently, nor strengthen our resilience to do the same when we return to work. It is our Psychological Resources that can assist us in how we respond and react to stressors in our environment and research has shown prolonged stress can cause wear-and-tear on these resources (Bakker & Demerouti, 2007; Demerouti, Bakker, Nachreiner, & Schaufeli, 2001), and can lead to burnout (Girdin, Everly, & Dusek, 1996). So how can we strengthen our Psychological Resources and what are they anyway?
Within the deliberatepractice approach to leadership, Psychological Resources refer to the cognitive and emotional components that support a leader in managing stressors that may cause unhealthy stress, reduced wellbeing, performance and/or engagement. These Psychological Resources can be learnt, and therefore can be built through coaching, training, self-insight or other development avenues. Each component within Psychological Resources have been thoroughly researched and reviewed in light of contemporary working conditions and demands, as well as considered through a practical lens for development. Additionally, Psychological Resources are levers for development and leadership effectiveness.
To develop your Psychological Resources consider increasing your ability to be mindful, strengthening your growth mindset and developing your Psychological Capital including how positive your psychological state is about your circumstances and probability for success.
This time of year presents a fabulous way to recharge your batteries in a manner that will not only strengthen your leadership effectiveness but happiness and well-being in life. Enjoy the Festive Season and Merry Christmas!