April 5, 2022

Inside MIEACT’s Challenging Resilience Panel

How might you define resilience in the workplace?

On Thursday March 10, MIEACT’s Challenging Resilience panel brought together a range of industry leaders, public servants, journalists, and local community members. Host Ginger Gorman and expert panelists were accompanied by 70 audience members as we came together to define, challenge, and reinvent resilience in the workplace setting.

Our panel consisted of 3 diverse leaders across a variety of unique fields in our community: Synergy Group’s CEO, Toni Marzulli, First Assistant Commissioner APSC, Rina Bruinsma, and Running for Resilience Founder, Matt Green.

Beginning by taking the time to define resilience, the panel quickly identified that while resilience may be a positive concept, it does come with negative connotations and at times can leave us with unrealistic expectations of ourselves and our colleagues. As restrictions gradually ease and we slowly make our way back into the workplace, many of us are being confronted with a new normal. We asked our panel how leaders are supporting staff as they ‘bounce back’.

“Resilience on its own is a positive concept, but how we use it and speak about it can have connotations. Many of us will have had someone say to us ‘well you just need to be more resilient’. You wouldn’t say that to someone with a heart problem or a broken leg.” – Rina

In certain situations, we might find that bouncing back is leading us to burn out. If you notice yourself in a situation like this, sometimes the most resilient thing you can do is to simply put your mental wellbeing first and reach out for support. While it may not look like it from the outside, reaching out for help is a demonstration of resilience.

“Bouncing back is not so much about returning to being a ‘happy person’ but bouncing back to positive habits that can lead you to be a happier person.” – Matt

“Look out for each other. That’s one of the most important things we can do as we go back to the workplace.” – Rina

“We are all more successful when we are climbing the hill with someone else.”- Toni

Once a strong understanding of the word ‘resilience’ was established, the panel then explored how teams can support each other to build resilience and ensure a psychologically safe work environment. Panelists discussed how in any industry, office, worksite or even on the running track after work, the most important thing is ensuring that those around you know you have their back.

“Resilience is about the ability to say: ‘even though I don’t know what’s ahead, I am going to find the strength within my network, leverage it and know I am not alone’.” - Matt

“When you have a trusted team, they are high performing. When you understand what people are going through, you can look after each other.” – Toni

The panel then discussed the silver linings of the pandemic. We’ve seen workplaces make an investment in technology and new ways of working, which means an investment in people.

“Covid-19 has accelerated an openness to working differently. The future is up to us, we have a real opportunity to shape how we work.” – Rina

“Setting up meetings every day at 8am, 5pm or over lunch hour does not lead to a good culture. It removes the ability to build habits that increase our resilience.” – Toni

As we wrapped up the discussion, the panelists reminded us that whilst the pandemic has been a key driver in building, and at times challenging our resilience, at the end of the day it has shown us that we are all human.

“I know my dog has barked while I am on calls, we might hear children crying or doorbells. All this shows is our humanity and interconnectedness.” – Toni

We would like to extend our gratitude to our host, panelists, and audience members. Without you, we would not be able to reach more schools across our local community with access to mental health education.

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A huge thank you to our panelists. This session was supported by the ACT Health Directorate.