Building Resilience Through Emotional Intelligence and Emotional Resilience

As mentioned during the Seminar, resilience is the ability to reintegrate after disruptive events, revert to previous condition after difficult circumstances, flexibly adapt to challenging situations and to “bounce back”.  It made me reflect back on  the talk by the guest lecturer where she mentioned that setbacks, challenges and difficulties are guaranteed experiences. To strengthen resilience in the workplace, one can communicate normalcy, create identity anchors, build one’s social capital and develop alternative thinking. However, one also needs emotional intelligence and emotional resilience to strengthen resilience in the workplace. This essay will  explain these with real-life examples.

To build resilience in the workplace, a leader needs to develop emotional intelligence which is the ‘ability to understand and manage emotions in ourselves and others’ (Psychology Foundation, n.d.). We can understand and relate to other people’s feelings and understand how our emotions affect others in the workplace. It has to be acknowledged that it is a difficult task to control all our feelings effectively but it is an essential skill to learn. If we are overwhelmed by our own emotions, it make affect rational judgement and decision making and we might be unable to get along with others. Thus, we need to learn to cultivate emotional intelligence as being awa (GCC, 2012)re of our and others emotions will help in building our capacity for resilience in times of challenges and adversity. This is something that has to be constantly worked on in today’s globalized world  with rapid technology and socio-political changes which makes conditions in the economy volatile and unpredictable and we need to invest in our resiliency “portfolio”. One example is the Mayor of New York, Rudy Giuliani who was viewed as a strict and emotionless leader. However, the collapse of the World Trade Centre in 2001 revealed a side of him which showed resolve, empathy and inspiration. He was able to handle his emotions and those of others which appropriating the right action according to the situation. His emotional intelligence thus enabled him to deal with the situation while calming the emotions of those around him. Hence, to build resilience, we “must make a commitment to the continuous nourishment, rejuvenation and replenishment of our emotional energies” to deal with adversity (International Workplace, 2012).

Secondly, employees need to develop emotional resilience in the workplace. Emotional resilience is defined as the “ability to adapt to stressful situations or crises” (Rainey, 2014). According to research done, emotional resilience is something that can be learned or improved upon constantly and continuously and “how we cope with adversity and how we cope with catastrophe are on a continuum” (Rainey, 2014). If one is emotionally resilient, they will be able to maintain their productivity and performance in times of challenges. Hence, it is important for one to have the knowledge, skills and support structure to develop emotional resilience and they have to effectively self-manage their stress on a daily basis. This can be done by providing psychological skills training and physiological stress management techniques to empower employees to recognize, understand and manage their stress-responses. The emotional and physical health needs of employees also needs to be nourished by promoting healthy practices, freedom and flexibility to pursue work-life balance to self-manage their individual health and lifestyle needs. This will thus build engagement, loyalty and morale in the workplace, thus building their emotional resilience when faced with adversity. One example is the 2003 SARS Crisis in Singapore where “support from colleagues, taking precautionary measures and  getting clear directives and disease information” helped the staff to cope with the psychological impact of the epidemic (Sim & Chan, 2004) . Prior to this, staff already had a good working relationship and many felt that their physical and emotional were well-taken care of. Hence, developing emotional resilience enables employees to be better able to cope with the pressures and taking care of their needs increases their  sense of belonging which in turn, increases their sense of responsibility and resilience in the face of adversity.

In conclusion, although several methods were mentioned during class to strengthen resilience in the workplace, I personally feel that developing emotional intelligence and emotional resilience is the foundation that has to be built upon and strengthened. Without being aware of one’s own and others’ emotion, how can one react according to the situation? One can develop methods but has to execute them appropriately. Moreover, emotional resilience needs to be cultivated continuously by showing care and concern for your employees and their development. Every company needs the support of their employees to function and overcome adversity. Resilience in the workplace cannot be guaranteed as people respond differently based on their thoughts, personality and feelings. But by taking consistent steps, it can lead to a more integrative strategy that enables a company to rise and overcome adversity.


Foundation, P. (n.d.). Bouncing Back How Workplace Resiliency Can Work For You. The Psychology Foundation of Canada .

GCC. (2012, July 7). Workplace Resilience – Taking Action. Retrieved from GCC Employee Wellness Blog:

Rainey, S. (2014, February 25). Emotional resilience: it’s the armour you need for modern life. Retrieved from The Telegraph:

Sim, S. S., & Chan, Y. H. (2004). Psychological impact of the SARS outbreak on a Singaporean rehabilitation department. International Journal of Therapy and Rehabilitation .

Workplace, T. I. (2012, February 23). Building Resiliency through Emotional Awareness. Retrieved from The International Workplace:



What is the most effective leadership style?

I refer to the article dated 16 March 2014 on Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski aka Coach K, who congratulates the Mercers for winning a game against his team. It struck me because it takes alot of courage to congratulate the team who has defeated his own team. This has made me think about leadership in the organization, where leadership is defined as the “ability to influence a group toward the achievement of a vision or set of goals” (Robbins & Judge, 2012).  I will explore the effectiveness of the leadership styles of Coach K and Coach Knight, one of college basketball’s most successful coaches in the context of an organization.

Here is the link on the readings on both Coaches.

Firstly, different leadership styles may yield the same results in different contexts. Coach K and Coach Knight has vastly different leadership styles. Coach K uses affiliative and democratic leadership. Through affiliative leadership, he creates harmony and builds emotional bonds with his players through two-way communication. This is seen when he would communicate up close and personal with his players by maintaining eye contact and showing them he cared. He would also invite them over to his place for dinner and treated them like family. He also used democratic leadership by getting valuable input from his players and get them to share with one another. Through this, he has managed to foster strong bonds with and within the team and his leadership approach can be seen as authentic leadership, where “leaders know who they are, know what they believe in and value, and act on those values and beliefs openly and candidly” (Robbins & Judge, 2012). In the case of Coach K, family and love are one of his personal core values and he clearly demonstrates this to his players.

Coach K’s affiliative and democratic leadership is vital in developing and maintain strong interpersonal relationships with employees in the organization. When employees feel like their managers care about them, they are more likely to be motivated to work. In addition, studies have shown that employees have greater allegiance to a company which they believe cares for their well-being. However, this leadership style is not effective in all situations. The focus on cultivating strong relationships may divert the leader from keeping tabs on the team’s performance, leading to a deterioration in team performance.

In contrast, Coach Knight uses coercive leadership. He demands immediate compliance from his players and is highly driven to achieve. For instance, he demanded discipline and would throw players out for not working hard enough. He would also hurl vulgarities at his team players. Despite his harsh methods, players still respected him as he was a great coach who led the team to victory. Hence, despite the extreme leadership styles of both coaches, there is no one single approach that would determine success in an organization. In my opinion, leadership is subjective and dynamic and the adoption of specific leadership styles would depend on the situation and context.

In my opinion, the use of coercive leadership would not be effective in getting people to work with you and is only effective when there is a crisis that needs immediate attention. It will hurt the morale of the employees and they will not be motivated to work. It could make employees feel like commodities where their emotional and mental well-being are neglected. Human beings are emotional creatures and we seek emotional balance in various aspects of our lives. Employees will hence find that this leadership style overbearing, thus causing the turnover rate for the firm to increase.

The question I now pose is: Which is the most effective leadership style?

There is no clear answer to this and it really depends on the situation. In my opinion, a leader leads his team toward achieving a common goal. He will work with different people with a myriad of personalities and thus a leader needs to have a high level of social intelligence to determine what is needed for leadership in a particular situation and select an appropriate response. He would need to have behavioural flexibility to vary his leadership behaviour to accommodate situational requirements. Thus, it is important for a leader to be flexible in their leadership approach to ensure favourable outcomes.


Robbins, S., & Judge, T. (2012). Organizational Behavior. Prentice Hall.





The Importance of Intrinsic Motivation

When I think of motivation in the workplace, I would immediately associate it with a corporate setting. During one seminar, Professor Audrey Chia mentioned that she observed the behaviour of surgeons while they were in the operating theatre and noted that the surgeons did indeed behave differently when they knew they were being observed. An article by Low & Robertson discussed the sources of motivation among hospital employees in Singapore and how managers can “use non-monetary rewards to motivate their  employees in service industries” (Low & Robertson, 2006).  This essay will thus discuss the importance of intrinsic motivation of employees in service industries. The paper highlights that although money is one form of motivation, “60.46% [of employees] expressed their emphasis on non-monetary aspects or rewards of motivation” (Low & Robertson, 2006).  Non-monetary motivation which managers can apply include praise and recognition, care and concern, empowering and developing employees and ensuring person-environment fit.

Intrinsic motivation is important in services industries because it is a “vital currency for an organization’s survival and success” (Low & Robertson, 2006). For instance, giving praise and recognition makes employees feel respected  and appreciated and will hence produce good results in their jobs. Praise and recognition will increase one’s self-efficacy through verbal persuasion, making them more confident in their ability to perform their job. When a manager provides care and concern for an employee facing personal challenges, the employee will be better able to focus on his work tasks once his personal problems have been resolved. In addition, empowering and developing employees makes them “feel at home”, thus fostering and strengthening relationships between the manager and subordinates. Thus, employees will be more committed to a firm that cares for their needs and their well-being and gives employees a sense of ownership into what they do , as indicated by Dan Ariely. This is not to say that extrinsic motivation i.e. money is not effective. However, money is a fluid motivator and is only effective to a certain extent. For instance, money “is the vehicle by which employees can buy the numerous need-satisfying things they desire” (Low & Robertson, 2006). This can be linked to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs where the “need-satisfying things” are the physiological needs such as shelter and food. However, money undermines employee’s motivation and makes them feel under-appreciated. Eventually, this increases a firm’s turnover rate. In my opinion, money as a motivation can be used to reward employees based on their performance but should be complemented with non-monetary motivation.

Secondly, intrinsic motivation is important in service industries because of the “trying” nature of the industry (Low & Robertson, 2006). Taking care of patients can be a difficult task because it requires the tailoring of one’s efforts and behaviour to individual patient needs. Moreover, employees will also be tasked with different situations everyday and may end up questioning the purpose of their jobs. Hence, in such a service environment, a high level of job engagement is needed, which is the “investment of an employee’s physical, cognitive and emotional energies into job performance” (Robbins & Judge, 2012). When an employee is highly engaged in her job, she believes it is meaningful to engage in it and because the organization’s values are similar to the employees, where employees with the same values are working together. If there is a misfit in values, employees may feel dissatisfied and will be unmotivated working in such a trying environment, causing him to eventually leave the job. In my opinion, not only is value-matching and job engagement important, managers in service industry can engage in recognitions such as employee of the month awards and participative management where employees are involved in the decision-making with their subordinates. This thus increases their allegiance to the company and provides a greater meaning in their job.

In conclusion, service industries have dynamic and highly adaptable environments. Intrinsic motivation makes a job fun to do even during difficult situations. In my opinion, the extent of intrinsic motivation depends on the company’s culture. A manager is severely limited to provide intrinsic motivation if the company has a task-oriented and hierarchy-oriented culture where achieving results are important. Hence, in such an environment, motivating employees intrinsically may be considered a secondary priority. Moreover, I feel that a relationship-oriented and egalitarian-oriented culture is a necessary complementary to intrinsic motivation for employees because the values and actions are practised every day, as seen in the example of the action of the employees in the siege of the Taj Hotel by terrorists.


Low, K. C., & Robertson, R. W. (2006). Not for Bread Alone—Motivation Among Hospital. Public Organization Review , 6 (2), pp 155-166.

Robbins, S., & Judge, T. (2012). Organizational Behavior. Prentice Hall.