What’s so good about being Mentally tough?
In a world of much change and ever increasing pace, where technology is advancing at a rate of knots and we, as professionals, are required and expected to adapt to these changes efficiently and effectively with little disruption. In order for us to be able to do this positively we need to have a certain level of mental toughness.
Mental toughness is often expressed and linked with resilience so let’s look at these two terms – Resilient and Mental Toughness – what do they mean and are they the same?
Resilience is a state of being. It is the ability to be able to “grin and bear it” to struggle on regardless of the situation or the challenge faced, to be able to deal with the situation and recover from it quickly even if you see the situation in a negative light. This in itself infers that should the situation last for too long a time that a resilient individual may well start to struggle – for example being under excessive pressure for a long period of time.
Mental Toughness is about how you perceive a situation. Whether you see it as a positive opportunity and whether you possibly seek challenge and adversity. Being mentally tough means that you have the confidence in your own ability to be able to deal with stress, pressure and challenge in a positive way regardless of the circumstances. The key aspect is the positive approach to the situation and the ability to be able to deal positively to situations of pressure and stress.
So if you are mentally tough does that mean you are also resilient? Yes, however, not all people who are resilient are mentally tough and that is because of the positive aspect of being mentally tough – you can be resilient but quite negative, you can’t be mentally tough and also negative.
So how can you assess your level of mental toughness?
There is an assessment known as MTQ48 which assesses 4 elements of mental toughness, these are Challenge, Commitment, Confidence and Control, though achieving a high score in each isn’t necessarily a good thing. So, what could a high score in each of the elements mean?
This may mean that you seek out challenge, adversity and change all the time – which, as a manager may be exhausting for your staff to deal with.
You may commit to targets that are too stretching and challenging – which, as a manager may mean that you are overstretching your team.
You may come across as over confident and arrogant, or your confidence in your ability to do things may be misguided in certain situations – as a manager, this may mean that your staff can’t relate to you or your ability to influence people may be affected.
You may seem like you have an over inflated self-belief as you believe your success is your own doing and you may also have a very strong handle on showing emotions – which as a manager may mean that your staff think you are cold and unapproachable, and also egotistical!
What can we learn from this kind of assessment?
As you can see, being “mentally rock hard” is not necessarily the best thing! So what can we learn from this kind of assessment:
- That having an understanding of how you may be perceived helps you to be a better manager.
- That the areas that require improvement can be developed over time through some key exercises, self-awareness, reflection, education and coaching.
- That it’s not about the score you achieve, it’s about how you use the information provided to improve yourself.
- That it is true, resilience and mental toughness are key to being able to deal with the increasing changes and challenges in the workplace, and that these aspects can be developed to help us be better equipped for the future.
As with everything, having a positive attitude to continuous improvement and personal development, and being comfortable “in your own skin” will help you to succeed in all that you aim to achieve.
If you enjoyed reading this article and would like to learn more about mental toughness, you can join our next ILM course in Leadership and Management – Level 4, where we study Mental Toughness in detail. This course is based in Manchester & Bolton and is due to start on 20th March. To reserve your space and indicate your location preference please contact us on email@example.com.
You can also click the link below to get access to the course factsheet – click enrol for detail:
Leadership and Management Level 4
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