The term “personal resources” is frequently used in personal development. But what are personal resources, what other types of resources are there, and how do they influence the work of personnel developers and managers?
This article will answer these questions.
Personal resources explained
Resources can be defined as “the totality of knowledge, skills, attitudes, personality traits, talents, relationships, networks, etc., available to a person as potential.”.
Source: Fachhochschule Nordwestschweiz (University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland)
It’s exciting to read the definition since it indicates that the individual has not necessarily had to utilize those resources yet. In other words, they are available to this individual as potential. This means that the individual may be aware of the resources available to them but may not yet have utilized them.
What does this mean in concrete terms, and what resources are we referring to?
Let’s look at the purpose of resources first to answer these questions.
What is the purpose of resources?
People can master challenges with the assistance of resources. These could be new tasks or problems that the person has never dealt with previously. Examples of these challenges are overcoming a personal crisis, mastering changes, achieving goals, and developing solutions.
We come across these situations regularly, especially in everyday life. Having knowledge of your own resources and being able to fall back on existing resources provides security. You recognize your ability to master the situation.
But what are the available resources?
Types of resources
In addition to personal resources, there are social resources, material resources, and infrastructural/institutional resources.
Personal resources are resources that can be attributed to an individual and are therefore also called “internal resources.”
Personal resources include:
- Mental, emotional, practical abilities
- Character traits
- Physical condition
Personal resources can be influenced intrinsically. These are traits and events that occur “within you” and that you have control over. Although you can draw on outside expertise and inspiration, the implementation is entirely in your hands.
Personal resources refer to both employee know-how and soft skills. Personal resources are the skills, experience, knowledge, and character of an individual or employee.
When we talk about social resources, we are referring to the network of a person. The circle of friends and acquaintances with which they associate.
For example, social resources include:
- The partner / significant other
- Family / relatives
- The neighborhood
- Acquaintances from clubs, school, work and
- “Useful” relationships
By leveraging your network, you can open doors that you might not be able to open yourself or only with a great deal of effort. Your support system consists of these individuals. They provide sympathy, answers to questions, or offer a different perspective relevant to your situation. These are the people who encourage and challenge you. Therefore, you should maintain your own network and stay informed about the subject.
As a manager, your social resources include the people you lead and the service providers you hire. At the same time, as a manager or active in personnel development, you are your employees’ social resource.
Material resources have a significant impact on how people deal with difficult situations and respond to challenges. They support the implementation of projects and influence “success”.
Material resources include:
- Money / assets
- Real estate / grounds
- Property (House / apartment / furniture)
- Car / motorcycle / motor home
- Computer / TV
- Musical Instruments
In terms of setting goals, lifestyle, fulfilling dreams, etc., material resources can be particularly useful. A lack of material resources can negatively affect one’s quality of life, so knowing that you are financially secure is comforting.
Accordingly, material resources have a major influence on an employee’s personal resources that should not be underestimated. Employees who are fairly compensated for their labor and are financially self-sufficient will be more willing to perform than those who are underpaid.
Infrastructural/institutional resources are often underestimated. They come into play primarily when a local aspect is involved.
Here are a few examples of institutional/infrastructural resources:
- Organizations / institutions
- Facilities: Recreation, education, etc.
- Companies / businesses / workplaces
- Housing / places of communication
- Clubs / initiatives / volunteer work
- Transit links
Source of the enumerations: paritaet-berlin
Think about where you want to work or live, what public transportation you have, or how fast your Internet connection is.
Infrastructural/institutional resources can influence employee performance. What is the person’s commute like to work, is there healthy food available, are the workstations ergonomic and designed for focused work, etc. These are all resources that an employee can influence or access.
Internal vs. external resources
For the sake of understanding, let’s sort the individual types of resources into internal and external resources:
Internal resources are personal resources. They include all the things over which you have a direct influence. Internal resources are intrinsically controllable.
External resources include social resources, material resources, and infrastructural/institutional resources. As an individual, you have no direct influence over these resources. They are controlled from the outside. Through indirect influence, the external resources impact your decisions, opportunities, approaches, and possibilities.
A real-life example:
Suppose your team is growing and you are looking for a new employee. You need to figure out how you will accomplish this goal. This is where resources come into play.
- What experience and professional knowledge does the new team member require? (Personal resources)
- What character traits and strengths should the employee have? (Personal resources)
- Who will train the new team member (Social resources)
- Is there anyone in your network who is currently looking for a new job and fits the position? (Social Resources)
- How much can you pay the new team member? (Material resources)
- Which laptop will the new employee receive? (Material resources)
- Are you willing to cover the cost of relocating? (Material resources)
- How do you envision the workplace? (Infrastructural/institutional resources)
- What benefits does the company provide? (Infrastructural/institutional resources)
To answer the questions concerning the new team member, you can draw on all of your resources.
Exercise task for practical implementation
The next time you face a challenge, ask yourself:
- Is this something I’ve done before? (Personal Resources)
- Which steps did I take? (Personal Resources)
- What else do I need to complete the task? (External resources)
- What challenges will require outside help? (External resources)
- Who do I know who can help or is knowledgeable about this topic? (Social Resources)
- Can I buy services? And, if so, what’s the budget? (Material resources)
- Are there any official contacts who can help me with this problem? (Institutional/infrastructural resources)
- Where can I look to find more information? (Institutional/infrastructural resources)
If you have any questions about implementation or need assistance, feel free to contact us by email: