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Boost the bottom line by fortifying employees’ mental toughness

By Workplace Staff
| www.cos-mag.com

Today’s employees believe in themselves, but not necessarily in their leaders. That unsettling statement is one of the findings of rogenSi’s Global Mindset Survey. The survey results provide a wake-up call to senior executives to build mental toughness and resilience by creatively connecting with and inspiring their people at a deeper and more meaningful level or risk high levels of disengagement.

The rogenSi Global Mindset Survey captures the mindset of employees around the world during the economic upheaval of the past year. It provides a disturbing picture of how employees view themselves, their team, their leaders, and the organizations in which they work. If left unaddressed, cautions rogenSi, it may only be a matter of time before self-belief erodes to match the current low levels of motivation and emotional control.

Mental toughness reflects a person’s ability to rise to higher levels of performance and thrive in the face of adversity. The study, led by rogenSi’s Dr. Cory Middleton, presents groundbreaking research into what makes peak performers mentally tough and is a leading model of how to develop strength of mind.

“Now, more than ever before, organizations need to invest in their people by developing their mental toughness so they can gain a winning attitude and embrace change,” says Alex Jakobson, director, rogenSi North America. “Companies appear to be losing productivity because their employees are absolving themselves of taking responsibility for their results by blaming the economy and their leaders for poor performance. This lowers mental toughness and therefore lowers their commitment to execute strategy. Based on the results of the study, there is a huge opportunity for leaders to engage and inspire their people, which will be vital as they prepare for future growth.”

rogenSi’s Global Mindset Survey, which polled more than 2,000 employees of various ages and job titles and across a wide range of industries at companies around the world, reveals some startling results:

- Employees are passionate about their work and have a strong work ethic but have diminished or reduced belief in their leaders’ ability. As a result, their motivation is unstable and diminishing. They seek greater influence from their leaders in setting direction and appropriate processes which, in turn, can deliver exceptional performance.

- Younger employees (25-35 years old), more than any other age cohort, have lost faith in their leaders and in their organization as a whole, believing there is not enough skill, strategy, teamwork or leadership to successfully manage the challenges ahead. They are more stressed, more doubtful and more distracted than their colleagues. This is cause for concern, warns rogenSi, because if these future leaders remain disengaged there is no doubt this will have a damaging effect on their performance now and in the years to come.

  • Sales people have been the most negatively affected by current challenges. According to the study, they have reduced knowledge about how to handle the challenges ahead, find little comfort from their colleagues’ skills, and are reluctant to turn to their managers for support. These beliefs and behaviours will inevitably and progressively have a negative impact in their energy, confidence and resourcefulness, leading to decreased sales performance. And if sales are down, it can have a ripple effect on the wider workforce.

  • The call for stronger leaders isn’t just coming from 9-5 desk workers but cuts across all industries and job titles. Interestingly, the survey revealed that employees in the mining/resources industry are most in need of more engaged leaders, followed closely by employees working in information technology and the medical/pharmaceutical industries.

  • Canadian employees have the highest passion and work ethic out of all countries surveyed yet they are not feeling emotionally stable in the workplace.

According to rogenSi, leaders may find they are effective in positive times but they must also learn to adapt their leadership style in times of adversity. In tougher times, they need to pay extra attention to ensuring their team members are clear about the tasks on which they should be focusing.

“As evidenced by these intriguing study results, executive managers need to understand how to develop a corporate mindset that is made up of individuals who have the mental toughness to continue toward their goals despite significant adversity and pressure,” says Jakobson. “It’s natural for motivation to be down during an economic downturn, but successful and creative leaders will turn it into an opportunity to help their employees shine.”

rogenSi is a global consultancy for exceptional performance, helping leaders and their teams deliver results in leading, inspiring change, and driving sales growth. For more information, visit www.rogensi.com.

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