By Nancy Spangler, PhD, OTR/L
Workplaces are full of demands – most face some levels of uncertainty, pressures, and unpredictability. In addition, many of Greenleaf’s clients face more serious stressors, such as potential injury to themselves or their co-workers or the threat of violence.
Such highly demanding environments place a tremendous strain on people if they remain hypervigilant to potential threat-related incidents or have little opportunity to recover after actually experiencing or witnessing such events.
We at Greenleaf recently shared our thoughts on these concerns with the readers of Employers Health’s EH Connect publication.
Employers Health, a business coalition based in Ohio, provides resources, tools, and advice to their members related to health benefits, building healthy workforces and creating healthy environments.
In a nutshell, we describe the importance of both individuals and organizational leaders sharing the responsibility for mitigating stressors and building resilience through a set of competencies – i.e., individual skills as well as organizational policies and practices that are intentionally developed and reinforced over time. This approach, which we call Greenleaf’s Awareness-Regulation-Leadership (ARL) Resilience CompetenciesTM, includes:
Failures in competencies in any of these three areas have predictable behavioral results that make individuals and the organization itself more vulnerable and at risk of further distress. Attention to competency development enables calm heads to prevail, success for the mission more likely, and recovery from stress more accessible. Greenleaf honed this approach through our work with clients like the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), a federal agency primarily responsible for administering civilian foreign aid and development assistance – a prime example of a demanding work environment.
Without opportunities for recovery from stress, workers are at greater risk of experiencing serious physical and mental conditions. Thus, stress mitigation and resilience-building should be critical priorities for any workplace, but particularly those with highly demanding environments.
Employers Health is a long-time supporter of mental health awareness and action through its program called Right Direction. This program, developed in partnership with the American Psychiatric Association Foundation’s Center for Workplace Mental Health, provides information to help individuals and employers recognize and understand care options for depression, in particular. Greenleaf also provides a set of free materials and resources that employers may share with their employees to help build individual resilience competencies.
For more details on Greenleaf’s ARL Competencies, connect to a PDF of the article or to an electronic version of the full EH Connect magazine here: