Research shows that resilience improves more effectively by enhancing protective factors than reducing risk factors.
Researchers with the Department of Education at Korea University and the Department of Psychology at Kyungnam University examined 33 previously conducted empirical studies of resilience. Their meta-analysis showed that resilience variables are comprised of both protective factors and risk factors.
Protective factors increase the likelihood of being resilient. The protective factors identified in the studies included life satisfaction, optimism, positive affect*, self-efficacy**, self-esteem, and social support. In contrast, risk factors decrease the likelihood of being resilient. The risk factors identified in the studies included anxiety, depression, negative affect, perceived stress, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
*Positive affect refers to the extent to which an individual subjectively experiences positive moods such as joy, interest, and alertness. **Self-efficacy is the belief in one’s ability to accomplish a task or to succeed in a specific situation.
Their meta-analysis of previous studies showed that protective factors showed the largest correlation with resilience. Risk factors provided only a medium effect. Self-efficacy was the most robust protective factor. These results indicate that resilience improves more effectively by enhancing protective factors than reducing risk factors.
Resilience-Building Leadership is about enhancing the protective factors identified in these studies. For example:
Developing cohesion and building relationships can improve social support for team members.
Creating a positive climate and demonstrating character can improve positive affect for team members.
Instilling a sense of purpose and focusing on the mission can improve life satisfaction for team members.
Providing realistic training and sharing in the risks can improve self-efficacy for team members.
Keeping people informed and empowering leaders can improve optimism for team members.
Managing expectations and talking about setbacks can improve self-esteem for team members.
Lee, J. H., Nam, S. K., Kim, A.-R., Kim, B., Lee, M. Y., & Lee, S. M. (2013). Resilience: A Meta-Analytic Approach. Journal of Counseling & Development, 91(3), 269–279.