Becoming a Resilient Leader

By August 4, 2013All

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Whether you are at the top of your company, leading a team or serving a community, eventually you are sure to face a challenging situation or unsettling change. Resilient leadership calls for leaders to motivate and inspire others through a crisis.

Resilient leaders emerge and flourish through those tough moments as they lead others out of the crisis. Some of the greatest successes in history have followed monumental failures. With today’s rapid and disruptive change, leaders need to be agile and resilient.

In the 1980s, the Center for Creative Leadership conducted a study on the key life events that contributes to a leader development. The study found that leadership development came less from their success and more from life challenges and career setbacks. Great leaders have demonstrated that challenges are opportunities to learn, grow, change and to not repeat the mistakes of the past.

Great leaders don’t see themselves as the victims of their circumstances, but more responsible and courageous enough to accept their reality.

Today, we need leaders who can weather any storm while at the same time bringing their organization through times of great change and uncertainty. It takes resilient leadership that embraces the unknown and welcomes opportunities for personal growth.

So how can we develop our own resilience and looking for ways to cultivate more resilient leadership culture in our organizations? Here are some suggestions

Understand your authentic self

When you are facing a challenge or set back, it is really important to be honest with yourself with the challenge at hand. Your views and beliefs of the situation can have a lasting impact for yourself and your team. You have to find the courage and humility to look into your heart and soul-the core of your being. You begin to find what is important to you and the organization.

Understanding yourself will give you an opportunity to look inward and reflect on:

  • Your principles
  • Your beliefs
  • Your strengths
  • Your weaknesses
  • Your potential blind spots

Once you are honest with yourself and reflect, you can make better choices for the future. The more self-aware you are, the more authentic you can be.

Deliver inspiring communication

To inspire your team and achieve great performance, leaders need to be motivating in their communication. When it comes to communicating change, people are usually uncertain and resist new things. As a leader, you need to step out of the pack and deliver communication that motivates people to want to deal with complex changes during stressful times. Great leaders take these challenging times as opportunities to serve, connect with the people’s hearts and minds.

They go the extra mile to re-inspire their teams and re-engage around a meaningful vision in spite of setbacks and failures. A resilient leader is looking for more than just compliance. Leaders who inspire and communicate in a positive way, can elevate their team performance to success. Leaders are people who focus on positive aspects of their teams and their aspiration for a better future.

Speak from the heart

When you speak with people in times of change, people demand trust and transparency from their leader. Speaking from the heart means letting people know you care and understand their:

  • Concerns
  • Fears
  • Hopes
  • Dreams

When you speak from the heart, people will know that you care and committed to making a difference by sharing values and principles. Make time to meet with your people so that you can express your feelings and telling your story. The stories you tell will build the bridge of trust in knowing someone is there to lead and guide the team forward.

Don’t forget to listen

Resilient leaders listen in order to learn and understand the people they lead. It requires them to understand the information communicated and the feelings associated with the message. It’s about involving people in your organization and asking them the question-‘What do  you think about?” Resilient leaders cannot succeed alone. They have to create more connections and bring people for leadership conversations to embark on a better future for everyone. Our willingness to learn and listen to others will create a powerful momentum.

“A happy life consists not in the absence, but in the mastery of hardships.” Helen Keller

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Join the discussion 5 Comments

  • Great post Tal!
    Resiliency is such a basic competency in our present turbulent times. I really like how you weaved-in the CCL research (a key think-tank worldwide in LD) to convey and reinforce your messages. Speaking from having lived important personal and professional set-backs I can say your post truly resonates with me. Remaining agile, inspired and in the flow with others in great relationships have been three key success factors for me. Developing new competencies and living life as well! Every week I try to learn something new. In Cancun it was doing Catamaran every day. Since then it has been unleashing my potential and playing with others. Knowing what our greatest strengths are and allowing myself to be.
    Thanks for an opportunity to comment and be engaged with you on such a key topic.
    Appreciate you.
    Johann

  • Great article and I’m sharing with my community. Resilience does take agility of mind and a determination to remain positive and curious in the midst of any kind of circumstance. You mentioned speaking from the heart: truly an important part of resilience and positive thinking. When times get tough, this is when we know whether we’re living authentically, or living the life someone else wants for us. If it’s authentic, we’ll find a way to bounce back; if not, we give up and …….

  • Great post, Tal, on a a topic near and dear to me as well! Being resilient is such an important part of a leader’s journey because we all experience set-backs from time to time. The key is what we learn from each of these experiences and not let a bitter situation escalate. I also have found that speaking to others who have gone through similar situations as well as caring people, can make a huge difference. I related to your point #4- Just listen and you will get great stuff. Thanks!