Resilience: A Critical Key to Successful Leadership

November 06, 2017  |   Posted by :   |   Uncategorized,YPHR Blog

The world is changing.

It’s always changing and that is the reason successful leaders have always had one thing in common: Resilience. Resilience allows you to quickly adapt to change by learning from and overcoming failure.

What is resilience? Resilience is a mix between a character trait and a world view. As a world view resilience is defined by realistic optimism. People who hold this world view recognize the reality of obstacles, temporary setbacks, and bad news, but instead they face them head on with the optimism that they can learn from them and overcome them. This is the character trait of resilience, the confidence and motivation to get back up after meeting an obstacle or a setback, learn from it, and having the courage to try again.

Resilience – and the adaptability that comes with it – is particularly crucial for leaders today with the demographic shift in the economy and the speed of technological advances. The question then is how does a leader develop resilience. We’ll start by looking at the internal practices that an individual leader can do to develop resilience and then how that resilience improves their ability to lead.

Developing Resilience

  • Perspective: How a leader decides to view adversity, whether obstacles or failures, greatly effects how they react to it. Those leaders who view adversity as an opportunity to learn and build resilience react far more effectively to adversity. They also build the knowledge and resilience they will need to persevere and succeed in the future.
  • Courage: Humility leads to confidence and a realistic optimism, but it takes courage to humbly look at ourselves and our possible role in missteps and even failures. It takes courage to face the reality of the possible consequences of those obstacles, missteps, and failures. And most importantly it takes courage to keep leading and pressing forward through problems and hard times.
  • Priorities: Honestly ask yourself what is most important to you and your company. When adversity hits this will work as a fixed point that you can use to regain your balance and properly allocate your time, effort, and resources.
  • Self-care: A realistic person recognizes their own limitations and needs. It’s not an accident that many successful leaders practice rigorous exercise routines or mindfulness practices to deal with stress and keep themselves sharp. They recognize that their physical and mental health allows them to better respond to adversity. This also means maintaining a social support network that they can depend on in hard times, so that their team can in turn depend on them.
  • Humility: Humility is necessary for a realistic view of the world and ourselves. As I wrote about in an earlier post, humility is simply viewing your strengths and limitations realistically and honestly. This will allow you to see personal and organizational obstacles and missteps for what they are and adapt to them and learn from them. This leads to success and confidence, which bolster resilience and an realistically optimistic world view.

In many ways resilience is the courage to keep learning and keep trying. If leaders learn to develop resilience and the world view that comes with it the effects will also trickle down to their teams. Especially in times of crisis, people look to their leaders for what to do and how to react. If you face those situations with courage and as a learning opportunity your team will follow. This will not only lower the stress levels of the entire team, but also lead to the best possible response because your team is reacting with their minds and still working towards success. Resilience will undoubtedly help improve your personal and professional life, but as a leader resilience is crucial for the success of your team and organization as a whole. In an ever changing world a successful leader is a resilient leader, so how will you start developing resilience?

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Amy Shannon 1Amy B. Shannon is the President of Pinnacle Leadership Solutions, LLC, and a Partner at Your Partner in HRShe has specialized in Organizational Development, Human Resources, Leadership Training and Executive Coaching for over 20 years. She focuses her time in the executive coaching and leadership facilitator roles. 

The best advice given to her clients is to view learning as a new adventure and embrace lifelong learning as a way of life.

Professionally, Amy feels a sense of accomplishment when her coaching clients achieve their goals or receive promotions as a direct result of working on their interpersonal skills! Her greatest corporate accomplishment was establishing a corporate university in three languages and eight countries along with becoming a speaker at the Disney Institute. Personally, above all, her two boys!


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