What is the importance of being a resilient leader? If 2020 had taught us one thing, it is that being resilient is crucial to surviving a pandemic and the economic hardship that accompanied it. We have no idea what the future holds. So now, more than ever, we need to learn this competency so we can be ready.
During my recent conversation with April Sabral, Founder and President of RetailU.ca, this topic came up. To hear the conversation, listen to my podcast, The Positive Effect.
Definition of Resilience
The definition: ‘to be able to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions’.
“Resilience is the capacity of an individual to deal with change and continue to develop. It is about how humans can use shocks and disturbances like a financial crisis or pandemic to spur renewal and innovative thinking.”
Why Resilience is such an Important Trait
Last week, I published a blog about the importance of a success mindset. Without the ability to believe that anything is possible, it is nearly impossible to push your way through challenging and unexpected situations like COVID. Resilience is the companion to success mindsets; it helps you bounce back.
A success mindset along with being resilient, will help you respond to whatever is going on and come out the other side better and stronger.
We are already in a second massive wave of COVID. Businesses are starting to close again. Restaurants are reverting to carry out or eating outside. Retail stores are choosing to close. Masks are becoming mandatory in cities.
If you are not resilient, all of these situations that you have NO control over will beat you. Being resilient means you can beat the situation! Now which do you prefer?
I am going with resilient. But is it as easy as just deciding to be resilient?
How to Become a Resilient Leader
I read an interesting Forbes article and it shared that when we have a preference for resilence, we are quick to take action and act independently. The most resilient people were more reactive than thoughtful and more focused on action than relationships. They were also more willing to take risks and make decisions quickly. Being resilient as an individual, and being viewed as a resilient leader, requires that you bring others along with you.
trying to do. When driving down the freeway, we always appreciate it when people signal before they change lanes. Signaling lets others know your intentions. The most resilient leaders are effective at communicating their intentions to others. They were willing to help others understand a new strategy or direction. Effective communication helps others understand changes, expectations and new directions.
Resilient leaders are open to feedback and often asked others for feedback. Once feedback is given they also demonstrate a real effort to improve. They have a strong desire to continuously improve their skills and abilities. These leaders were both humble and coachable. As we look at this skill we see that younger employees are often coachable, but many people become less coachable as they age. The most resilient leaders, however, continue to ask for feedback throughout their careers.
Build Positive/Trusting Relationships
Resilient leadership occurs when people can bring others along. By building trust and being open to differences, these leaders are able to create strong teams by building positive relationships. An individual may be willing to make a dramatic change, but it requires positive relationships to get others to support change.
Bold Risk Takers
Resilient individuals are willing to take bold risks and try new ideas. It is easy for most individuals to be stuck in a rut in which they continue to conduct work in the same way from year to year. That approaches works well until the world changes, requiring organizations to change or die. Resilient leaders are not afraid to take risks and make bold changes.
The most resilient leaders were not only interested in their own development but they are concerned about the development of others. Resiliency is needed when we encounter failure. Developing others helps everyone to learn from their mistakes. We continue to find that leaders who want feedback for themselves are more likely to give productive feedback and coaching to others, because they want honest feedback as well.
Resilient leaders are willing to change and able to provide the leadership to ensure that the organization will also change. Change takes courage and requires a vision about where the organization is going. Resilient leaders embrace change and also encourage others to change.
Making decisions is always difficult because no person has all the data or understands all eventualities. But organizations cannot move forward until a decision gets made. The most resilient leaders are effective at making decisions and moving forward. If they make the wrong decision, they are quick to make a different decision and move in another direction. The proverb by Cato “Swift and resolute action leads to success; self-doubt is a prelude to disaster” fits well here.
“Resilience is not a trait that people either have or do not have. It involves behaviors, thoughts and actions that can be learned and developed in anyone.”
It’s Your Turn
The importance of being a resilient leader is never more vital than right now. The 7 factors above are a great starting point to evaluate your resilience. Which factors do you do well and where you can improve? Take on a partner who can help by providing feedback in the moment.
Now is the time to commit to becoming resilient so that we can face whatever comes our way!
Forever in your Corner,
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