Resilience is great, but leaders and team members need to be careful not to go too far. A degree of resilience is valuable to cope with the pressures of work and life, but overly relying on resilience to see you through has the potential for trouble.

Over the last two years, employees had to adapt to work-from-home and hybrid work environments, often at the expense of interrupted personal lives and career paths. We’ve been told to lean into these challenges and uncertainty, and by doing so, they’ll make us stronger. But did you know that constant emphasis on resilience could lead to emotional apathy and lack of motivation in career performance? 

Resilience is a popular pandemic buzzword that describes our ability to overcome challenges and bounce back from hardship. And while becoming more resilient is not a bad thing, leaders and team members must be careful not to demand too much, according to a recent The Upside article by coach and consultant Ben Brearley.

Brearley offers crucial advice for managers, many of whom are struggling to keep talent from quitting during today’s so-called Great Resignation. His main point: Don't push your workforce to become more resilient without addressing the underlying circumstances that call on them to be resilient. In other words, do what you can to improve the work environment so that the need for employees to be so resilient is lessened. Just offering resilience trainings and resources is not enough and won't mitigate the issues that compel people to leave (no matter how resilient they are).  

"I like to think of resilience like armor: It’s great to have when you get hit, but ideally, we don’t want to be getting hit at all," Brearley says. Avoid burnout and resilience fatigue by changing the workplace culture so good work-life boundaries are not just respected, but encouraged and modeled by leadership. 

What does resilience fatigue look like? Brearley says to be on the lookout for "changes in mood, routine, and emotional responses." Also, be proactive about checking in with employees and make it clear that you are concerned about their well-being, not their performance. 

Team members, meanwhile, should identify and set boundaries—and stick to them, Brearley writes. Everyone needs to pitch in to create a healthy balance between productivity and workplace happiness. 

As he explains, "Finding ways to help your people accomplish more with less is important. But many managers who increase productivity will simply fill the space with more work. Instead, it’s important to respect boundaries and promote an environment that reduces the possibility of employee burnout so you can sustain motivation and high performance in your team."

Read all his tips in the full article here.