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By: Geno Cutolo, CEO of Staffmark Group

COVID-19 has underscored the importance of resilience. This crisis is unpredictable and complex, and it has deeply impacted our personal and professional lives. Recovery will require hard work, patience, and strength.

If you have been questioning your resilience lately, you’re not alone. This pandemic has tested each of us in new and unexpected ways.

I have good news. Resilience isn’t a personality trait, and it isn’t fixed. Resilience is a skill, and it can be learned. I’m confident that honing this skill will help each of us get through this time – and ongoing challenges that will inevitably continue to come our way.


So, what can we do to build resilience? Start here:

Reframe your thoughts.

Especially in times like these, mindset is critical. Necessity forces us to think differently. I encourage you to focus on the lesson, not the hardship. Challenges are an opportunity to grow, try new things, and discover solutions.

Grit and resilience go hand in hand. It’s been said that grit is the engine that moves us toward our goal and resilience is the oil that keeps the engine moving. Angela Duckworth, a psychologist and author, found that people are born with various levels of grit, but she believes this trait can be developed. One key to improving it, as she points out in her TED Talk, is by shifting from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset.

She states: “Grit is passion and perseverance for very long-term goals. Grit is stamina. Grit is sticking with your future, day in, day out, not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years. And working really hard to make that future a reality. Grit is living life like it’s a marathon, not a sprint.”

We’re quickly learning that COVID-19 is a marathon, not a sprint. The work we are doing today will help us through this difficult time, and it will also empower us to face each day with optimism, persistence, and hope. Achieving success and finding joy is largely based on our ability to persevere even when faced with the toughest adversity.

Seek support.

We are all in this together, and we will get through this – together. While becoming more resilient requires a great deal of self-reflection and personal strength, we also need strong support networks. Outside of work, we need friends and family to provide encouragement and connection. At work, we need to form positive connections with colleagues and company leadership.

Many studies have indicated the importance of resilience as both an individual and leadership skill. A study by Zenger Folkman identified seven behaviors of resilient leaders. They found that resilient leaders:

  • Communicate their intentions clearly to others.
  • Are coachable and continue to ask for feedback throughout their career
  • Build positive, trusting relationships and are open to differences in others
  • Are bold risk takers and aren’t afraid to try new ideas
  • Develop others and provide productive feedback • Embrace change and encourage others to change
  • Are decisive and effective at making decisions and quickly adjust if the wrong decision is made

As the CEO of Staffmark Group, I’m keenly aware of the role leadership plays in organizational resilience. Our leadership team is focused on providing moral support, clear direction, and a shared sense of purpose.

Focus on what you can control.

What the country’s recovery will look like remains to be seen, but economists agree that there are three possibilities: mild with recovery in 6-12 months, moderate with recovery in 12-18 months, and severe where recovery will take 18-24 months. While we can’t control the recovery timeline, we can plan and prepare. Tough times provide the greatest opportunities for those who take action.

At Staffmark Group, we are working to ensure that we’re prepared regardless of what that recovery looks like. To support that effort, we’ve formed a Future State Task Force made up of representatives from our corporate and field leadership. This task force is developing a plan for each of the different scenarios we could face. I am confident that we have the determination, creativity, and expertise to navigate these uncertain times and emerge like a phoenix from this crisis.


While resilience does not eliminate stress or difficulties, it does provide the means to manage and recover. COVID-19 is far from over, and we will continue to feel the effects of this pandemic for months and years to come. Resilience will help us maintain our composure, find strength, discover solutions, and come out on the other side of this pandemic – stronger, wiser, and better equipped to tackle the next challenge.

“Life doesn’t get easier or more forgiving, we get stronger and more resilient.” – Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free