Have you noticed that often it is not the most talented staff that are the most successful in a work place? These days we are considering soft skills, in particular emotional intelligence when we recruit new staff. But in the current VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity) landscape, are we also considering recruitment of staff with awareness of whether they have a fixed or a growth mindset? Are we considering whether they have resilience and Mental Toughness so as to to be able to manage change and have the confidence to manage their emotions and thrive in this dynamic landscape?
Organisations now need to consider recruitment of staff for their positive mindset, their commitment and determination to enable them to push through the roller-coaster ride of change and challenges and achieve sustained success. Many staff often succeed because they are Mentally Tough.
What is Mental Toughness? Mental Toughness isn’t being macho or uncaring or self-centred – it’s about being tough in the sense of developing resilience and confidence – both of which are key ingredients for success in any workplace.
Mental Toughness is a mindset that describes your default response when faced with stress, pressures or challenges, irrespective of the prevailing circumstances. This mindset makes a significant impact on your performance, positive behaviour and personal wellbeing.
On the other hand, mental sensitivity (the other end of the scale to Mental Toughness) can leave staff open to self-doubt and frailty in the face of the same stress, pressures, challenges or difficult circumstances.
Research has identified that Mental Toughness consists of four components, the 4Cs of:
Control – having a sense of self-worth and feeling in control of your life. Control describes the extent to which a person can control the display of their emotions. A Mentally Tough person will usually just “get on with it” irrespective of how they feel and their positive approach often lifts other people’s spirits. This Control enables staff to work through the emotions of the highs and lows without seemingly being derailed.
Commitment is about goal orientation and ‘stickability’ and describes the extent to which someone is prepared to set goals for what they need to do and make measurable promises that, once made, they will work hard to deliver on.
Challenge describes the extent to which the individual will push back their boundaries, embrace change and accept risk. Mentally Tough people view challenges, change and adversity as opportunities rather than threats and will relish the chance to learn and grow in a new and dynamic environment. Someone whose challenge score is high will typically enjoy new places, new people, innovation and creativity.
Confidence describes the self-belief an individual has in their own abilities and the interpersonal confidence they have to influence others and deal with conflict and challenge. Staff high in confidence, will possess the self-belief to deal with a situation and the inner strength to stand their ground when needed. Their confidence enables them to represent their view boldly and be comfortable in handling objections.
The Benefits of Mental Toughness
Being mentally tough brings a variety of benefits for an individual and an organisation. Research has concluded that those with higher scores on the 4 C’s enjoy the following:
- Better performance – it explains up to 25% of the variation in performance.
- Improved positivity – adoption of more of a “can do” approach
- Greater wellbeing – more contentment and better stress management.
- Change management – a calmer lower stress response to organisational change.
- Increased aspirations – greater ambition and confidence in achieving those ambitions and a greater willingness to persevere to do so.
You can measure the Mental Toughness of potential staff. The MTQ48 is a popular and versatile psychometric tool which is both valid and reliable and is used globally. It is an ideal measure for organisations looking to recruit staff that may have to endure high levels of stress in customer focused roles, uncertainty, pace and rapidly changing priorities. The MTQ48 provides a profile which assesses current Mental Toughness and can also be used to develop Mental Toughness for staff through a tool box of interventions.
So, given the challenges faced by organisations both now and looking into the future, we want to be able to recruit for Mental Toughness or be able to develop Mental Toughness in our staff if they are going to be able to exercise the Control, Commitment, Confidence and ability to manage Challenge that we require in this VUCA environment.
Michelle Bakjac is an experienced Organisational Consultant, Coach, Speaker and Facilitator. As Director of Bakjac Consulting, she is a member of the International Coach Federation (ICF) and a member of Mental Toughness Partners and an MTQ48 accredited Mental Toughness practitioner. Michelle assists individuals and organisations to develop their Mental Toughness to improve performance, behaviour and wellbeing. You can find her at www.bakjacconsulting.com or firstname.lastname@example.org