One common aspect in developing our culture of excellence is the concept of hardiness and handling adversity. Hardiness revolves around how a person perceives their environment especially as it relates to the three C’s (commitment, control and challenge) when dealing with adversity. A major aspect of the season is the ability for athletes or organizations to develop awareness of handling stress, handle change, and develop the mental skills for performance through adversity.
Hardiness in Athletes
To establish the concept of hardiness in the sport context Hanton, Evans, and Neil (2003) stated that “the elite sporting environment place(s) the athlete into highly stressful situations, be it physically and psychologically” (p. 167). Furthermore, Hanton et al. suggest that “when confronted with stressful changes, disruptions, or failures, ‘hardi’ individuals react not only with a renewed attempt to control the situation, but also appraise the experience as interesting and worthwhile (commitment), and concentrate on the growth in knowledge and wisdom that is taking place (challenge)” (p. 168). In their findings, Hanton et al. found that “the elite/high hardi individual athlete was predicted to demonstrate lower competitive anxiety intensity levels, a more facilitative response and higher self-confidence levels” (p. 178). This finding could be interpreted that the hardi athlete manages adversity much better than their counterparts with lower levels of hardiness. Hanton et al. further claim that hardiness is a positive psychological construct which is accompanied by effective appraisal and coping strategies as the outcome of competition is and won’t always be one of success.
Hardiness in Organizations
Hardiness has taken an expanded route into organizations in the concept of organizations being hardi in the sense of cultures, climates, structures, and workforces being able to overcome changes. Understanding this aspect of hardiness is crucial in development because it investigates and creates a review for hardiness in a team setting. Maddi, Khoshaba, and Pammenter (1999) established skills to be hardi, which employees can develop. These skills include coping and activist social support (p. 118) and were established as hardiskills by the authors. Coping “emphasizes transforming a circumstance that is initially experienced as stressful because it seems adverse into something less stressful by mentally achieving perspective and understanding about it and then taking decisive action to solve the problem” (p. 118). The hardiattitudes (commitment, control and challenge) provide motivation to use the hardiskills continually and these skills deepen the attitude. Hardiness in organizations research brings into attention to (a) developing hardiness as a skill and (b) gives insight into the concept of hardiness as a part of a team setting. For example, if coaches show strong commitment, control, and challenge to his or her players, the skills may aid in the overall success of the organization by showing strong coping strategies in adverse situation.
Crust and Lawrence (2006) research considered that incorporating concepts of mental toughness to the leadership streams was an area that needed to be developed. Therefore there is a realistic application of hardiness in organizations to the team sport setting.
Hardiness is a great component and provides a proactive theoretical framework for athletes and organizations to develop as part of their mind set in achieving excellence.
Crust, L., & Lawrence, I. (2006). A review of leadership in sport: Implications for
football Management. Athletic Insight, 8 (4), 28-48.
Hanton, S., Evans, L., & Neil, R. (2003). Hardiness and the competitive trait anxiety
response. Anxiety, Stress and Coping, 16 (2), 167-184.
Maddi, S. R., Khoshaba, D. M., & Pammenter, A. (1999). The hardy organization:
success by turning change to advantage. Consulting Psychology Journal, 51
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About Kyle McDonald
Kyle McDonald is owner/operator of Competitive Will, an athlete, coach and business performance development company. Integrating high performance strategies for success.