Stoicism is not resilience!
So, what makes a great leader? And perhaps more poignantly, what makes a great leader today? Throughout history, the most memorable leaders have usually been those who led in tough situations. We have been inspired by the challenging situations they faced and how they prevailed despite the difficulties. But increasingly, I see leaders today feeling and appearing constantly challenged and wondering if their leadership can stand the tests of constant change, ambiguity and uncertainty, not to mention technology! It seems to me that more and more, we are expecting our leaders and indeed, our teams, to be increasingly resilient.
So, what is resilience?
Often defined as the ability to bounce back, I look at it differently. I see it as the ability to lead and cope with uncertainty, with constant change and distraction, yet perform optimally. It is the capacity to manage the everyday stress of work and remain healthy, learning from unexpected setbacks and preparing for future challenges. This requires actions that allow us to be agile and able to sustain our performance and wellbeing over the long term.
Can we become more resilient?
Whilst there is no doubt, it takes effort to be a resilient leader, like other aspects of leadership, it is a dynamic process that can be developed. Some people may have more resilient personal characteristics, such as optimism and flexibility, but we can all learn and develop the behaviours that underpin resilience.
Our levels of resilience may shift with different challenges in life or work, because contrary to common belief, resilience is a state and not a personality trait. If this is the case, then it means two things: we can develop our resilience and we need to regularly review or actions and thoughts that support resilience as our circumstances change.
Traditionally, we have referred to the most adaptive style of leadership as one that is situational. Weighing up the situation and adapting your strengths to address the needs of the business, the challenges, the team, are all skills as leaders we are familiar with. Yet the modern leader now needs to understand that as the world is moving at such a tremendous pace and greater ambiguity and uncertainty envelopes our teams, then they, and you, may start to show signs of anxiety, overwhelm, feeling under pressure, over tired or maybe just wondering if you lack resilience.
So, building your resilience is now a precondition for leadership in building and supporting high performing teams and a valuable skill for our team members.
How to identify if you are resilient?
Diagnosis always comes before the cure! In order to work on building your resilience, it is important to identify how resilient you are as a leader. This raises your understanding of the concept and builds your self-awareness; it’s a great place to start.
The Working With Resilience assessment and toolkit will not only help you understand where your resilience is working for you but also identify areas that you need to develop and watch out for. The Team Assessment and Leaders Assessment focuses on understanding how your team is performing in relation to resilience; are they pulling together or are your working practices likely to reduce your resilience and therefore your sustainable performance?
How to build resilience as a leader and in your teams
There are various elements that combined together create great sustainable performance in your teams, including shared purpose, resourcefulness, a culture of continuous improvement, perseverance, optimism, self-care, and staying connected with the people you are working with. The Working With Resilience Team Assessment enables team members to score against the various elements and a facilitated workshop encourages the team to focus on the required areas to build a sustainable high performance.
The Leader Assessment, if combined with the Team Assessment, can provide a rich source of evidence for areas where the team is strong and areas that need to be worked on to build personal and team resilience. By role modelling resilience, leaders can have a significant impact on culture, illustrating the importance of networks, collaboration and support during times of change and challenge.
In addition, our workshops focus on the importance of trust levels within the team; a crucial element of leadership and sustained performance. Building resilient teams, means building high performing teams that deliver sustained performance.
If you would like to know more about understanding and building Individual Resilience, Leader Resilience or Team Resilience, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I would be pleased to share my perspective and our Assessment toolkit.