3 Tips On How To Be A Resilient Leader
Being resilient is fundamental to being a high-performing business leader. But what do we mean by resilience? We define resilience as the ability to prepare for, adapt to, and recover from stress. Being a resilient leader involves maintaining a positive attitude in the face of adversity, being able to recognise and manage your individual stress responses and reactions, having the ability to make tough and well-informed decisions under pressure and being able to navigate yourself and others through uncertain times and unforeseen challenges.
So, how do we take these principles and apply them to practical leadership behaviours in the workplace? Here are three top tips on how to prepare for, adapt to, and recover from stress to become a more resilient and successful business leader.
Resilient attitudes recognise that it is not possible to prepare directly for every given scenario. However, being self-aware and understanding your individual strengths and weaknesses, personal stress triggers, and what you need physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually to maintain resilience, will give you a greater level of preparedness for whatever life throws at you.
To help prepare for stressful situations, many leaders find it useful to construct positive coping strategies, in which they map out in advance how they might deal with common situations before they arrive and think about what could help them when facing adversity.
In times of stress, the human body instinctively prepares for fight, flight, or freeze. Some people may get snappy or become confrontational when stressed, while others may retreat into avoidance behaviours when faced with difficult decisions. Resilient leaders are not immune to stress or its effects – but they do recognise their own personal stress triggers and the physiological signs of bodily stress. By cultivating a mindful sense of self-awareness and emotional intelligence, leaders can recognise the early onset of stress and take remedial action to reduce its negative effects on the body.
With leaders having to frequently deal with interpersonal issues within teams, awareness of others is often as important as self-awareness when it comes to resilient leadership. Leaders should take the time to get to know their team, engaging with them both emotionally and intellectually and learning to recognise social behaviours, so that they can identify stress triggers and behavioural cues in others that will allow them to successfully de-escalate team stress levels.
When a difficult or adverse situation arises, a resilient leader will need to make use of all their preparation tools and techniques in order to sustain performance under pressure, bounce back from setbacks, overcome difficulties without engaging in dysfunctional behaviours, and set an example to others about how best to perform.
This ability to quickly adapt in response to an ever-changing landscape requires the cultivation of an agile mindset, in which you understand what you can and cannot control and are confident enough in your own strengths and abilities to take calculated risks and initiate new approaches to problem-solving.
Humans are profoundly social animals, and in group environments (such as in businesses and teams) the emotional responses of some individuals can act as triggers for similar responses in others. In other words, stress responses can quickly cascade and spiral through a team, undermining cohesion, and productivity. Learning to be resilient, involves protecting the energy of yourself and others by creating positive emotional boundaries in the moment so that stress and negativity don’t seep throughout your organisation causing larger-scale issues.
Even the most resilient of business leaders are not superhuman. Following a stressful or challenging situation, it is essential to pay attention to your recovery and make time for self-care. Remember that resilience is not just about being able to cope with external pressures in the moment; it is also about taking care of yourself physically and mentally so that you can stay focused on the task at hand and bounce back more quickly to full productivity.
Many people find breathing exercises, meditation, and physical exercise helpful in aiding short-term recovery from stress. Paying attention to healthy eating, taking regular breaks throughout the day, and getting enough sleep each night, will also help keep you motivated and energised long term, so you can learn from mistakes and improve future performances.
Supporting You To Become More Resilient
Resilient business leaders and managers recognise that they cannot always control what goes on outside, but that they can control what goes on inside, and that the interpretation of stressful events is often more important than the events themselves.
Through cultivating resilience, leaders and managers can inspire and empower their teams to face challenges head-on and come out successful and victorious. Resilient people are proactive, versatile, and capable of recognising opportunities within difficult situations.
With resilient leadership, a business cannot only survive but also thrive in a rapidly evolving marketplace.
Here at GRA, we have a guide all about how to build resilience inside and outside of work. We encourage you to give it a read and get in touch for more information on how you can improve your leadership skills.
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