A client contacted me to say that a young worker, we’ll call her Annie, hasn't been coping too well and is feeling overwhelmed and in consequence is feel emotional and overwhelmed.
Annie is a good employee, but she’s new to the role, hasn’t got much work experience as yet and it is quite different to her previous work tasks.
She’s doing well in some areas but is running into a wall in others. The problem is that she thinks she ought to be able to do it all. To cap it all, she has now said that she has sleepless nights and is now thinking about leaving. That would be a shame because this is all new to her and she hasn’t really given herself a chance. It takes years to build skills and experience (and even so, experienced people still make mistakes). Mistakes are part of learning. So long as people learn from their mistakes it’s an important and useful experience.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, not even a Hollywood set version. Although Annie has already had a lot of support, I think she’s feeling a bit overwhelmed so we need to slice and dice the tasks she has to do. To build the skills she hasn’t yet got or is unsure about, we’re going to tackle the areas she’s struggling with, one at a time. so that this becomes a key learning focus around the items that you are already doing comfortably and well. It means she can you learn do each part properly, then move on to the next key learning area. We anticipate that each key learning area will take around three months to complete. By the end of 12 months, she should be fully able to do all aspects of the role.
Each learning period should agree targets, starting with a fairly easy first target, becoming incrementally more challenging over time, so that at the end of each development period Annie will be able to do the whole task.
The easy first target is critical. It’s partly to ensure the employee achieves it, and partly to get them using their own momentum. The more they succeed in the early stages, the more they’re likely to be motivated to succeed in the later, harder stages.
It’s a sign of her immaturity that she has just crumpled at the first hurdle, so we have also suggested some resilience training. When she has grasped that getting it wrong, making mistakes, struggling sometimes is simply part of life and no one sails through life mistake-free – ever – I hope she will have a better sense of proportion. Resilience training won’t stop her making mistakes, but it will help her see them proportionately and not feel the anxiety she currently feels, and which gets in the way of her progression.
Resilience is an important skill to develop in the workplace and in life. It will help staff to be able to manage deadlines, working relationships and stress effectively. It also enables them to process positive and negative results more effectively, and to be able to bounce back from negative outcomes and to learn from them, in order to create positive outcomes.
Better resilience in the workplace means that the team develops the ability to handle pressure and unexpected setbacks effectively, resulting in a less stressful and more enjoyable working environment. The business will enjoy better productivity and there is likely to be less sickness, lateness and absences.
If you’re an employer with HR queries and problems, get in touch!
Although every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this blog, nothing herein should be construed as giving advice and no responsibility will be taken for inaccuracies or errors.
Copyright © 2023 all rights reserved. You may copy or distribute this blog as long as this copyright notice and full information about contacting the author are attached. The author is Kate Russell of Russell HR Consulting Ltd.
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