Resilience is critical to effective leadership. You need to nurture it in yourself first. Then you need to build and maintain it in your team.
So how can we develop resilience and stay motivated in the face of chronic negative stress and constantly increasing demands, complexity and change?
Based on some of the latest neuroscience, behavioral and organizational research, here are 3R’s I think leaders need to know about to keep resilience reservoirs topped-up in themselves and their teams, in order to take dilemmas and setbacks in-stride.
1. Reinforcing – is what leaders and teams can do to strengthen reserves of resilience. Ways we act, think and feel that keep us effective, functional, energised and act as resilience refreshers such as:
- Revisiting purpose can reinvigorate and reenergise: why we’re here, what matters to us and how we make a difference
- Reminding ourselves of positive resources we can call on to get through a crisis and recalling previous times we overcame set-backs and the factors that helped us succeed back then
- Maintaining a positive frame-of-mind and knowing we support each other and stick together
2. Retaining: is what leaders and teams can do to stem resilience-drain, and hold onto current levels of resilience they have. For example:
- Knowing what factors in your context act as resilience-builders or drainers and identifying what we can do plug holes in our resilience bucket.
- Doing simple, everyday mindful exercises, together or individually, can dampen down bodily alarms and disturbing thoughts and feelings. It has a soothing, re-energetic, refocusing effect.
- Maintaining a positive emotional outlook by resisting excessive worry and rumination, eradicating negative self-talk and self-sabotaging behaviour in teams and individuals, and training our minds to see silver linings – the positive sides and opportunities of adverse situations
3. Restoring: is what leaders and teams can do to re-build their resilience after noticing their reserves are depleted after an incident or a series of different pressures. Instances such as:
- Practising empathy – a prelude to connecting and including each other – showing appreciation, gratitude, making yourself approachable and supporting others
- Taking resilience rest breaks during your day – paying attention to peaks and troughs in your energy and stepping away for a few minutes now and to reset and take your mind off things.
- Confirm and console. Pay attention to what’s going on, so people feel noticed, heard, understood and show interest and concern for what others may feel. When you show interest people feel acknowledged.
“Resilience is the capacity to not only endure great challenges, but get stronger in the midst of them”, says Harvard Business School’s Nancy Koehn, who also adds how “…It’s an extraordinarily important capability because we live in a nonstop crisis world – one calamity, one emergency, one unexpected, often difficult, surprise after another like waves breaking on the shore…”
Building Resilience at Work
Are you ready to step up to the role of being a resilience-building leader?
Take the lead in retaining, restoring and reinforcing your team’s reserves of resilience – as well as looking out for your own
Building Resilience at Work is an action-based clinic that helps you explore ways to re-charge yourself and boost your team’s reserves of resilience too.
We look at your role as a resilient leader and what you can do to help yourself and others. Take-away some seriously down-to-earth tools, practical tips and one of our well-regarded pocket guides to help put resilience-building into action back-at-work and keep on doing it.
Offered Live Online as 3 x 2.5 hr sessions over 3 weeks or attend in-person a 1-day small group coaching workshop at selected regional centres in Queensland. Dates and more information online at resilience.thechangeforum.com.