Resiliency requires proper skills for critical thinking and handling emotions to be resilient. “Life is the most excellent teacher of resiliency” (Bronze, 2013) since it gives one an adventure through greater adversities. The Army defines resilience as “the mental, physical, emotional, and behavioral ability to face and cope with adversity, adapt to change, recover, learn and grow from setbacks” (USACIMT). Also, resiliency “reinforces the Army values, beliefs, and attitudes, which therefore educates soldiers in a squad about the importance of building connections with each other, taking care of one another, and being there to support fellow soldiers in times of need” (US Army R2 Center). Resiliency is linked to one’s emotions, mental agility, and physical abilities to attain optimum performance. I will be discussing rational thinking model by Albert, Ellis, performance enhancement skills, and resiliency skills that a squad needs to build and improve on (Soldier and Leaders) to develop resiliency.
Albert Ellis, (1957) outlines three steps (adversity, beliefs, consequences) by which an individual should process any event or difficulty they face to get the right perspective to make better decisions to get a favorable outcome. The first step is for the soldier to identify the irrational thought and feelings that clouds one’s judgment as soon as adversity occurs. Examples are; blame everyone else, there is no way out, I cannot, it is over for me, why me, I must be perfect, etc. Secondly, beliefs guide us or forms our opinion about every event and also the emotions which arise because of our beliefs. Lastly, the consequences is an individual’s reaction as a result of what they are experiencing. Besides, one’s emotion sometimes gets in the way of processing things rationally, so he intended to “help people alter the illogical beliefs and negative patterns to overcome psychological problems and mental distress” (Ellis, 2007) which turn to make people less resilient after adversity.
There are performance enhancement skills to address and consider when a squad intends to build or develop resilience. Firstly, constructive criticism even when faced with adversity, everyone in the team should create a sense of belonging and self-worth amongst each other. Also, it is essential to criticize each other, but on the other hand, those criticisms should come with encouraging words to support them as they try to solve the issues they have. Secondly, stress management; according to Luis Gallardo, to counter stress, “leaders should encourage soldiers to take time off, express their confidence in each other, don’t rebuke soldiers or peers when they struggle, and help them through any struggles they may have” (Gallardo, 2005). It echoes to soldiers that they are never alone in anything they go through. Also, this encourages soldiers to find the best or good aspects of their jobs even if they don’t like their jobs. Always emphasize to soldiers and their peers the overall contribution they bring to the organization in achieving its objectives/goals. Another important element is, leaders should avoid always micromanaging every task and also leaders should outline a set task and give soldiers the free will to figure it out. Besides, this turns to reduce stress, and it gives soldiers extra leverage to work with each other because they know each other strengths and weaknesses (building confidence). Thus they can pick which part to play in accomplishing the task, which helps build trust and confidence in each other and they can rely on one another to get things done and for support. Erin O’Toole Murphy stated that “soldiers of resilient squads depend on each other to achieve set goals,” that is, every team member is an essential element to the accomplishment of objectives.
A squad can also develop resilience by developing these skills, firstly, energy management, soldiers will build resiliency when they spend more time with other soldiers that don’t bring their morale down, and a positive environment will help people look at any difficulty in a favorable light. Secondly, problem-solving, which involves putting every situation into perspective and avoid thinking traps, will assist soldiers in making rational decisions after adversity. Thirdly, identify the strength in themselves and others, thus encourage soldiers to avoid blaming and complaining about situations, but instead finding ways to resolve them. Finally, soldiers should avoid talking to themselves negatively (hunt the good stuff), focus on the positives than the negative. Building on and applying this techniques or elements in a squad will boost and develop resiliency.
Resiliency builds skills that promote critical and rational thinking which strengthens an individual’s problem-solving skills. Below are some skills that a squad needs to develop in other to be resilient: Set realistic goals, that is individuals should set solid goals and also have the will and desire to be able to achieve it. Also, set goals that match their values and beliefs, this will positively influence how their beliefs with affect their emotions should they run into issues with their goals. Furthermore, it is vital to educate soldiers that even if they fail, every experience is an opportunity to learn. Secondly, hunt the good stuff, which is, developing or creating positive thoughts and emotions to counter the negative thoughts. Thirdly, soldiers should avoid thinking trap, that is jumping into conclusions and trying to predict what is going to happen without taking into consideration all the evidence or facts.
In conclusion, resilient soldiers do not linger over failures, but instead, focus on the positive and learn from the errors they make in every situation. Besides, build on stronger relationships with peers which acts as a support system in a time of need. Also, set realistic and specific goals which are in line with your values and belief, and work towards achieving them and being the best you, you can be. Furthermore, squads should use this tools to self-develop, so they can cope with adversity, perform better in stressful situations in both personal and Army life.
- Bronze, S. (2013, May 15) Article on Resilience.
- Ellis, A. (1957). Rational Psychotherapy & Individual Psychology. Journal of Individual Psychology, 13:18-44.
- Gallardo, L. (2015) Article on Resilience redefines the terms for success and survival.
- Murphy, Erin, O. (2016) Article on six traits of a resilient team.
- U.S. Army Ready & Resilient Center (http://readyandresilient.army.mil/index.html)
- U.S. Army WCT, Warrior Care & Transition: Resilience (http://wct.army/modules/soldier/s5-resilience.html)
- USACIMT Ready and Resilient – Home-center for the Initial military.