Six Characteristics of Mental Toughness – Part 2

African American female truck driver smiling happily at the wheel

By: Ellen Voie, Founder, Women in Trucking

Review of the first 2 characteristics (be sure to read Part 1 to learn more about these):
1. Level-Headedness
2. Stress Tolerance

3. Resiliency/Ego-Strength

“A measure of one’s capacity to handle setbacks, criticism, and rejection. High scores indicate that one is less negatively impacted by failure and setbacks. Those who score low tend to internalize failure, criticism, and rejection, and often have trouble bouncing back and re-establishing self-confidence.” 

Employees who are emotionally resilient adapt more easily to workplace change, manage workloads more effectively, and foster better working relationships in their teams. Lower levels of resilience, however, might need a boost to help them bounce back. One way you can encourage them to build stronger emotional resilience is by offering skills training, like communication courses, technical skills development, and soft skills classes. Learning new tools and skills shows your employees that you care and support their well-being. Resiliency is dependent on security and ego-strength, so offer employees the chance to share in meetings, present on a topic in which they feel confident, or lead a project they can master. When employees feel more secure, it improves resilience and they recognize and respond to stress better. Now your employees are emotionally proactive when faced with difficult situations. 

4. Energy/Persistence

“A measure of one’s potential to sustain a high level of activity over extended periods. High scores relate to being active and persistent in overcoming obstacles. Those with lower scores tend to be less energetic with respect to tasks and may not always persist when necessary to achieve a goal.” 

Employees who show a strong drive towards goals are fueled by high levels of persistence, and it will show in their work. They take ownership of their work and will persist to accomplish tasks regardless of outlook. But not all employees exhibit persistence when times get tough, so how do you avoid this? Set clear goals and milestones so employees can get on board, stay focused, and remain energized. Many leaders assume the team is already committed, but motivation must also come from the top. Uncommitted and disengaged workers may just be going through the motions, but managers have an opportunity to win back an employee who has become disengaged. What can you do to help them push through a difficult task? Give your team a long-term goal and map out the key marks they need to hit in order to reach it. Break down their workloads into smaller, more manageable parts to stay on track. Communicate continuously on their progress, hold them accountable for reaching their goals, and acknowledge when they reach a milestone. The more markers they meet, the more encouraged they feel to persist.

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