As a leader in today’s world, you will not survive for a minute if you don’t learn resilience. It is important to note though, that if you are to keep going when you are under attack, failing and under scrutiny, you will need to ensure that you are permanently living and leading with integrity. That way, you will not only withstand the pressure, but rise above it and create your own version of success.
The new leader’s behaviours are unpredictable
The new leader hears about agility and innovation commonly. The new buzz word is self-disruptive. Whilst there are certain behaviours and skills that lend themselves to good leadership, there never really was a ‘leadership standard,’ and today it’s even less defined than before. You will be challenged as you try to challenge others. You will have to make fast decisions and multitudes of them. That increases your odds of failure. You will have to navigate those failures to achieve a few significant successes that cancel out the failures. You will need resilience to help you along.
The new leader in a connected world
The new leader, leading in the new world, needs to learn resilience now, maybe more than ever. We are living in a world of pressure. Pressure has always been there. But now, the pressure to perform basically in public on a daily basis is mounting. For those that live on social media, or at least use it, you get the feeling that if you are not there or not prominent, if your accomplishments are not recognized, then you are not relevant. So there’s pressure to perform for yourself, to rise in your career, for your family to provide for their wellbeing, but also for the public in order not to look daft, or unaccomplished or irrelevant. People are watching you and you feel compelled to compare yourself to others. This is not what resilience is about, but it compounds the issues you will already face, and makes resilience all the more important. Resilience helps you to not succumb to social pressure and get buried more deeply in the stress.
Help yourself otherwise no amount of resilience will save you
If you work daily like you are being paid for the job for which you were hired, if you don’t slack off, if you don’t steal, if you don’t compromise yourself or your company… you will not give yourself a hard time when you are under pressure/attack/criticism. If there is the slightest feeling of guilt on your part, that you didn’t step up, that you took unreasonable time off work, that you took advantage of your position… when the problems come, you will feel even worse, because you won’t know who saw you slack off or steal and you can’t defend yourself in all honesty. (Lies can be as hard for the liar as they are for the recipient.)
The good news is, that if you’ve ever been laid off, or had to deal with unexpected challenges or had to manage difficult businesses, and you’ve come through level headed, you have gained experience in the matters which leaders have to manage on a daily or at least frequent bases. That makes you one notch more qualified than you were before. Think about this whenever you want to give up. If you don’t go through it, you won’t get to lead through it. And if by any chance you do get a leadership position but you haven’t had experience with challenges, you are not likely to be very good at it / you will struggle all the more. The truth is, you will not climb that high if you haven’t had an opportunity to show resilience in the corporate environment. Boards will only elect people who they believe can not only navigate corporate affairs, but can deal with unexpected crises, employee challenges and sinking ships.
10 SMARTER Leadership tips to build or maintain your Resilience
- Keep your eye on the vision/ destination. Rocky roads are sometimes the only paths.
- Put things in perspective
- Manage Your Emotions
- Add value elsewhere; this gives you confidence that you are capable. It’s not you, it’s the situation.
- Focus on the things you can control (you’re wasting your time and exacerbating your stress otherwise)
- Ask for help
- Celebrate the small wins (this is important for you AND your team)
- Be constantly prepared with different scenarios
- Consider problems as a watering ground for growth
- Know when to quit (this will be covered in more depth in a separate article)