The Importance of being a Resilient Leader (2020)

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, 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’.

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.

Develop Others

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.

Champion Change

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.

Are Decisive

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.

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