Henley Business School’s Jon Foster-Pedley reveals how to build resilience in your teams


Jon Foster-Pedley explains that resilience and wellbeing in the workplace are closely linked.

Resilience is one of the top characteristics that is desperately needed in the ‘new normal’. The reality is that change is going to happen, no one can resist it, tough times will come and you can’t escape them, so the only option you have is to accept what is and be resilient.

Henley Business School’s dean and director Jon Foster-Pedley says resilience is the ability to bounce back and cope with a crisis and not be crushed mentally and emotionally.

He says getting back to your pre-crisis state has a lot to do with your own awareness. You need to evaluate how strong, durable and vulnerable you are.

“Part of being resilient is the expectations you have of life. If you come across something that’s too hard to handle and it crushes you, that means you are not very resilient. Resilience means you need to understand that life is going to be full of ups and downs so that you are not crushed easily.”

Jon adds that we need people who say, “Ouch that hurt but I am going to pick myself up again.”
Quoting the late Nelson Mandela, “Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again”, he said this is the kind of attitude that is needed in these times.

Jon shares that when lecturers train managers or leaders at Henley, they have noticed that these leaders want to be seen as perfect and strong.

“The truth is they are not really that strong, they are also human. And the reason management is lonely is because they have to make tough decisions for everybody and pretend to be superhumans. They buy into the leadership image that they are super strong and can’t be vulnerable.”

Jon says the good news is that you can be taught to be resilient. “At Henley Africa, we have a course that synergises all the different forms of resilience, from physical, to emotional, spiritual and mental.”

He explains that the course is virtual and asynchronous. “The science-grounded course is broken into six modules, which take three hours a week to complete over six weeks – or you can choose to do it all in 18 hours or do it over six months.”
He adds that whichever way you choose, there are built-in checks and assignments throughout to gauge how well you are learning the lessons and applying the tools.

“The course we are offering at Henley Africa is an opportunity for you to reset. Some people just want to go back to the good old days, but they weren’t that good; they were still filled with anxiety and stress. The pandemic has given us a golden opportunity to stop and think.
“This course is for people who want to harness their potential, overcome their challenges and emerge at the other side even better than they were before.”

Why resilience is important in the workplace
Jon says having a resilient workforce benefits the business.
“Having resilient people means there will be more productive and resilient leaders leading teams of people who have far greater endurance, are less likely to burn out and less likely to leave their companies.”
Jon adds that resilience also improves employees’ overall health, as resilience and wellbeing in the workplace are closely linked. Better mental health means less absenteeism.

What leaders can do to help their teams
Jon shares that there are ways leaders can help in making sure their teams are resilient:
1. They need to understand what resilience is.
2. Analyse strengths and weaknesses of each team member.
3. Find ways to support their emotional, mental and physical wellbeing.
4. Provide personal and professional training (Like the Henley resilience course).
5. Make sure they build stronger relationships.

For more information on the Resilience course contact David Maclean on 011 808 0860 or email: [email protected]

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