The Dark Side of Resilience

Resilience is a highly sought-after personality trait in the modern workplace. But could too much resilience be a bad thing?

 

Large-scale scientific studies suggest that even adaptive competencies become maladaptive if taken to the extreme.

Indeed, scientific reviews show that most people waste an enormous amount of time persisting with unrealistic goals, a phenomenon called the “false hope syndrome.”

For example, extreme resilience could drive people to become overly persistent with unattainable goals. Although we tend to celebrate individuals who aim high or dream big, it is usually more effective to adjust one’s goals to more achievable levels, which means giving up on others.

Along the same line, too much resilience could make people overly tolerant of adversity. At work, this can translate into putting up with boring or demoralizing jobs — and particularly bad bosses — for longer than needed.

 

For more insights into workplace best practices visit hbr.org.

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