Personal Resources

In the context of wellbeing, personal resources refer to the internal characteristics, strengths, and assets we have as individuals which contribute to our ability to adjust to, and cope with, adverse situations and effectively recover back to a place of wellbeing. 

Personal resources encompass various factors:

  • Self-efficacy: the belief in one's ability to successfully accomplish tasks and achieve goals.  
  • Optimism: a positive outlook and expectation for the future.  This is because it impacts the extent to which we perceive challenges as manageable and the approach we take to them
  • Resilience: the ability to cope with setbacks, learn from experience, adapt to change and maintain wellbeing.
  • Social support: the maintenance of supportive relationships and social networks that can provide emotional, instrumental and informational support to help buffer against the impact of stressors.
  • Emotional intelligence: the ability to recognise, understand and manage our emotions and navigate social relationships effectively. 
  • Cognitive flexibility: the capacity to adapt one's thinking, perspectives and problem solving strategies to consider alternative viewpoints, generate creative solutions and overcome cognitive biases.
  • Sense of purpose: having a personal sense of direction, goals and values that gives a life a sense of meaning.

Strengthening these personal resources have been shown to provide a 'protective factor' for individual wellbeing.  It is essential to recognise that personal resources alone cannot and should not be the sole focus of any approach to workplace wellbeing and must be balanced with efforts to address systemic factors (see stress management).

However, when included as part of a holistic approach, which includes efforts to address the primary causes of workplace stress, providing information and resources to support individuals to understand and strengthen these resources form an important part of a workplace wellbeing strategy. 

'How can I better understand and strengthen my personal resources?'

Personal report

Robertson Cooper's i-resilience tool is a personality-based questionnaire that enables you to receive a personalised report. The feedback will inform you how your personality is likely to influence your personal resources and resilience.

To complete the questionnaire:

  1. Go to the Robertson Cooper i-resilience tool and complete the registration form. 
  2. You will be taken to the questionnaire which will take about 20 minutes to complete. 
  3. Once completed, you'll be able to download your report. You will also be able to access the i-resilience portal which provides supporting information and resources to help develop your personal resilience.

This report is completely confidential to you.

Workshops and e-learning

The University offers a range of workshops and e-learning that can help develop skills and behaviours to support you to improve your resilience.

As a manager, how can I help my team?

The first thing to note is that activity to strengthen personal resources and resilience should sit alongside effective approaches to proactively limit stress in the workplace. It is not about ensuring that people can endure stressors that could and should be addressed. You should also refer to the stress management section for more information.

At an individual level you can encourage and support individuals to engage with the activities to build the personal resources earlier in this section. The use of coaching techniques can also be useful to build individual confidence and ability to meet future challenges.

There are a number of workshops and e-learning modules in Staff Learning you may find useful. If you feel you need further support in this area, you can contact the Organisational Development team who can discuss further options with you.