Mental Toughness

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The importance and implications of mental toughness:

Mental toughness is having the natural or developed psychological edge that enables you to:

➢ Generally cope better than your opponents with the many demands (e.g.; competition, training, lifestyle.) that are placed on you as a performer.

➢ Specifically to be more consistent and better than your opponents in remaining determined, focused, confident, resilient, and in control under pressure (Jones et al, 2002.)

Those within the sports world who have high levels of mental toughness are more likely to be more successful competitively than those of a lower scale. Within the sports world mental toughness is consistently directly related to performance, behaviour, well-being and aspirations. This also can be transferred into education and also into the work place. The benefits to any business to employ people with high scales of mental toughness in these four areas are:

Performance: Increase Motivation, improve time management,
create and enhance good relationships, overcome setbacks easily.

Behaviour: Set realistic goals; take responsibility for own actions, celebrate achievement, actively seek feedback.

Well-Being: Have a positive mental focus, have rational thinking, reduce stress/ anxiety and frustration.

Aspirations: Have long-term objectives, shows commitment,
Will suffer short-term discomfort for long-term gain.

The importance to an employer to have a member of staff within a managerial position within their team with high levels of mental toughness would be:

➢ Cope with everyday situations
➢ Dealing with difficult staff/staff motivation
➢ Coping with complaints
➢ Identifying training needs/appraisals
➢ Articulate better meetings
➢ Have a mental advantage over competitors.
➢ Deal/cope with unexpected situations or emergencies
➢ Have the ‘Bounce back ability’ after set backs
➢ Excel/cope with high stress and pressure situations. ➢ Be in control.

The implications to an employer of having a member of staff within a managerial position with low levels of mental toughness would be:

➢ A negative approach
➢ Lack of motivation will de-motivate team
➢ Show emotions- unease others
➢ Panic in difficult situations
➢ Poor time management- will not achieve goals
➢ Deal poorly with provocation
➢ Team have no role model
➢ Business will not develop/may fail
➢ Not in control.

There are ways to measure mental toughness and develop individuals to be to identify their weaknesses and strengths and develop an action plan. Below I have examined one model.

A model that measures mental toughness: MTQ48

One method that can be used is a MTQ48. It measures mental toughness in terms of four core components – control, challenge, commitment, and confidence through a questionnaire. The results are then assessed in the four components through a score range of 1-10 (1 being of the lower scale.)

CHALLENGE: Measures how individuals see challenge either as an opportunity for self-development or as a threat.

Higher Scale

Thrive in changing environments
Work hard/committed
Will identify problems for self-development
Likes change/ Easily bored
Enjoys competition, happy to commit to projects

Lower Scale

Likes stable environments

Fear of failure
Doesn’t like sudden changes/shock
Tends to achieve minimum standards
Intimidated by challenge.

CONTROL: is divided into 2 subscales-Emotional Control and Life Control.

EMOTIONAL CONTROL: Measures we control our emotions and anxieties and what we reveal to others.

Higher Scale

Do not appear anxious

Good at controlling their emotions
Feel they have a good impact on...
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