Resilient Leadership

The belief that leaders have the endless stamina, ideas, and skills it takes to deliver success year after year is a fallacy of the past. Thus, resilience, the ability to bounce back, cope, renew, and revitalize, has become a key watchword for today’s savvy leaders. The point isn’t to learn to fail, it is to learn to bounce back.

Learning to be resilient is a full-time job, which never stops. Resilience is hard. It requires the courage to confront painful realities, the faith that there will be a solution when one isn’t immediately evident, and the tenacity to carry on despite a nagging gut feeling that the situation is hopeless.

When facing a difficult or challenging situation, it is natural to fall out of balance. The most important first step is to recognize and acknowledge that you are off balance. Once you reach this awareness, you can consciously take action to regain your foothold by engaging in a set of grounding and centering practices, allowing you to channel your energy more adaptively and constructively.

Resilience is the ability to recover from fumbles or outright mistakes and bounce back. But flexibility alone is not enough. You have to learn from your errors. Those with resilience build on the cornerstones of confidence — accountability (taking responsibility and showing remorse), collaboration (supporting others in reaching a common goal), and initiative (focusing on positive steps and improvements). These factors underpin the resilience of people, teams, and organizations that can stumble but resume winning.

Resilience draws from strength of character, from a core set of values that motivate efforts to overcome the setback and resume walking the path to success. It involves self-control and willingness to acknowledge one’s own role in defeat.

Resilience also thrives on a sense of community — the desire to pick oneself up because of an obligation to others and because of support from others who want the same thing. Resilience is manifested in actions — a new contribution, a small win, a goal that takes attention off of the past and creates excitement about the future.

No one can completely avoid troubles and potential pitfalls are everywhere, so the real skill is the resilience to climb out of the hole and bounce back.

Summing-up: Potential troubles lurk around every corner, whether they stem from unexpected environmental jolts or individual flaws and mistakes. Whatever the source, what matters is how we deal with them. When surprises are the new normal, resilience is the new skill.

 

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