We now live in a world of constant and rapid change. Emails, 24 hour news channels, social media, the internet and mobile phones mean that we are always exposed to outside influences and respond accordingly.

Do the coping strategies developed by young people in this context really meet the needs of their employer?

Over the last 25 years technology has revolutionised the way we communicate at work. There is an expectation that you are instantly available and will respond rapidly. Priorities and expectations can be difficult to judge, yet it is easier than ever to ask someone to undertake another task, blissfully unaware of their increasing workload and tight deadlines. Young employees in particular can lack the confidence and skills to ask those awkward questions and as demands pile up they can struggle to prioritise and find it uncomfortable to ask for help. At Lindley we feel that young employees are under more pressure and we see too many people just about coping with ambiguity and uncertainty.

‘The difference between a good worker and a great worker can often come down to how they respond to unexpected circumstances.’

Many people crumble under the pressure of the uncertainty, others will thrive and find ways to overcome adversity. Many young people are great at coping with uncertainty, but not necessarily at reflecting and developing well-structured responses. This is something they can practice and get better at.

Our outdoor programmes at Lindley can help prepare young people and give them the skills and confidence to deal with the pressures and demands of the work place. We have over 50 years of experience of designing demanding exercises that expose participants to similar challenges to those that they may face at work. Our trainers are great at helping people to reflect, learn and relate back to real life.

At Lindley we help young people to move on from coping with uncertainty by building their skills and confidence to enable them to manage uncertainty.

Stepping up from coping with uncertainty to managing it

Reflecting and reviewing are key to Lindley’s programmes. Young participants identify and express what they have learnt as part of their Lindley experience, typically this might include;

Do Nothing

While some crisis situations might require you to act immediately, in many circumstances the better option would be to take a moment or two to make sure you have a composed, considered response. Whatever you do, do not panic.

Stay Optimistic

Remember all those times in your past when a spanner was thrown into the works and yet you managed to overcome the problem? Good….. then you know you’re capable of dealing with the unforeseen.


Differentiating from the important and urgent and the merely urgent is an important learnt skill.

Consult Others

While an unexpected event can give you the opportunity to prove how dependable you are in a crisis situation, this doesn’t mean you need to cope by yourself. Remember the people around you and the skills and knowledge they have. Getting to know them and involving them, is almost certainly a good thing.

Evaluate What Can be Done to Prevent the Problem in Future

So you’ve successfully weathered the storm and in the end things turned out fine. It’s a discipline to reflect and evaluate what happened: how the unexpected problem came up in the first place, how you handled it, and how you could have managed it more effectively. Additionally you can identify how you can avoid a similar problem occurring in the future.

Expect and Accept the Unexpected

Uncertainty is the only certainty there is. There is no way to avoid it, and for some this can be unsettling. But if you can accept that you can’t plan for every eventuality you will actually be more equipped to tackle life’s surprises with confidence.

Make the most of your young employees

Are you really tapping into the potential of your young employees by enabling them to do more than cope with the dynamic workplace they find themselves in? If you’re expanding the number of young employees working for you and want to explore how to build the appropriate skills and confidence with them, we’re happy to start by talking about it. Email us today enquiries@lindley.org

Author: Mark Williams