Resilience is a key trait within us all. It’s a quality and skill we need to embrace and build upon, especially, in leadership. The last eighteen months, in particular, has provided us with more than its fair share of opportunity for us to grow in the area of resilience both in our personal and professional lives.
Shifting my entire business to online, having clients postpone work, supporting my sister through her chemotherapy and writing my new book over 14 weekends has definitely shown me, first-hand, that a high level of resilience is what has got me through. I have used it as a driver to focus on what I can do to influence and tap into past experiences and thinking that has worked previously. Like many of us, we have all had to step up and grow in so many ways, especially in our leadership of self and others.
Resilience is a superpower that needs to be nurtured and developed as a leader. Change is the only constant and if we want to adapt, innovate and lead boldly, resilience is a muscle we need to deepen and develop ongoing.
In a nutshell, resilience is the strength of spirit to recover from adversity. It enables us to find hope and the courage to continue, even when faced with challenging or negative circumstances. Resilience is a collection of skills, mindsets, and traits built upon as we face new and ever-changing experiences in and out of the workplace.
“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.” -Maya Angelou
Research by leading US psychologist Susan Kobasas resulted in finding three elements essential to resilience:
Challenge rather than crisis – resilient people look at mistakes and failures as lessons. They tend to reframe a paralysing event as a challenge. This, in itself, can change your mindset to be even more resilient.
Commitment to goals – resilient people are committed to work, relationships, friendships, beliefs, and things they care about. Being committed will give you a compelling reason to get out of bed in the morning.
Personal control – resilient people focus their energy and time, putting their efforts where they can have the most impact and feeling empowered and confident. Focusing on what we can influence allows us to stop worrying about events that are out of our control, making us feel lost and powerless.
These three elements are a great reference point to see where and how you can dial resilience up in your leadership.
Running numerous leadership and communication programs on this topic, I really believe if we look into what a situation can teach us, we are open to the lessons we can bring into our leadership and the future leaders we are creating.
Many elements can help us ramp up our resilience, and I’ve captured a few below:
- Strong and supportive relationships are vital, and people with strong connections are known to be more resilient to stress and often happier.
- As human beings, we are innately wired to connect, ensure your connections serve you, as you do them.
- We all need a strong support network to fall back on.
Foster an attitude of gratitude and optimism
- Assessing and sustaining positive emotions is a key skill in building resilience.
- Gratitude has the power to energise, heal and bring hope when facing adversity.
- Helps us look at life in its entirety and not be overwhelmed by negative circumstances whilst assisting in building a psychological immune system and other health benefits.
Review to remind
- Looking backwards is about learning and looking forward is about progress.
- Focusing your attention on how far you have come as this provides positive reinforcement.
- Looking ahead can fuel thoughts to overcome challenges.
Reframe the script
- Rumination is a process of relieving an event over and over again, up until a point.
- Reframing the experience can help you move forward and layer onto the “resilience muscle.”
- Change your language to serve you, thoughts carry power and flow onto our feelings and actions.
Know what motivates you
- Motivation is the energy that fuels optimism and positivity, and it can account for 65% of the predictability of success in any role.
- Doing what you are good at and enjoy can light you up and keep you going in challenging times.
- Tap into situations and people that motivate you and the tasks that light you up at work and the passions you have.
Confront what scares you
- The more we avoid, the more we fear and “awfulize” what we are fearing.
- Anything outside our “safe zone” is growth.
- Facing our fears builds upon our resilience so slowly expose yourself to things repeatedly.
To be what I call a Limitless Leader, one who learns, unlearns, relearns and evolves take the time to incorporate the superpower that is resilience into your leadership, team and organisation.
Written by Renée Giarrusso.