Sooner or later, even the best leaders will have to cope with setbacks and failures. What sets successful leaders apart is their ability to demonstrate resilience in the face of these challenges and help their teams bounce back from adversity. Resilient leaders are confident and adaptable when problems develop, which allows them to navigate change and the disruptions and confronting today’s organizations. Here are 10 things you can do to become a more resilient leader.
10 Ways to Become a More Resilient Leader
1. Build Trusting Relationships
In order to be successful, leaders must have an effective team around them. When it comes time to confront problems and overcome challenges, leaders will rarely face them alone. They need to have a resourceful and adaptable team that can communicate effectively and hold each member accountable for results. When setbacks and difficulties threaten to derail progress, leaders must be able to help everyone regroup and take a new approach. Without taking the time to build trusting relationships with their teams, leaders will have difficulty holding others accountable, influencing and inspiring people in the face of obstacles.
2. Accept Change
In today’s fast-moving world, nothing stays the same for long. New technology has the potential to disrupt markets and established practices, forcing organizations to adapt to new situations quickly. To be resilient in the face of change, leaders must accept the fact that change is inevitable. They must be ready to adapt and reevaluate situations frequently, often with limited information or time. By always looking ahead and thinking about ways to improve operations, leaders can become more resilient in the face of unexpected situations.
3. Embrace Learning
Successful leaders never stop learning. That’s why a willingness to learn is one of the key characteristics of a resilient leader. They are always on the lookout for strategies and tools that can make their teams more effective. When leaders don’t make a commitment to learning, they can quickly become stagnant and predictable, relying on the same tired strategies even when they no longer prove effective. This makes it difficult for them to adapt to changing circumstances and show resilience in the face of setbacks and failures. While organizations should prioritize development and resilience leadership training to help high-potential leaders build the skills they need for success, leaders must also take responsibility for their own learning and seek out opportunities to improve on a regular basis.
4. Establish Boundaries
While more organizations understand the value of promoting a healthy work/life balance, they often still have performance incentive structures in place that drive leaders to work long hours and drive themselves to the point of exhaustion. Unfortunately, high levels of stress are directly related to poor decision-making. When leaders don’t set boundaries for themselves, they run the risk of burnout. Even worse, they set an example for their teams that can leave employees feeling worn out, undervalued, and disengaged. Establishing a healthy work/life balance allows leaders to keep difficult situations in the proper perspective and provides the space they need to make well-informed decisions.
5. Be Accountable
Taking accountability is essential if a leader expects to build trust and show integrity. When challenges emerge, people need to know they can count on their leaders to provide the support, resources, and guidance they need. The time to start building that track record for accountability is long before a situation that calls for resilience. When setbacks and failures occur, team members should already be able to trust that they have stable, resilient leadership behind them to get back on track.
Even the best leaders are going to make their share of mistakes. What sets them apart, however, is their ability to reflect on those mistakes and learn from them so they can do better in the future. Of course, leaders can learn just as much from evaluating their successes. There is a tendency to pat everyone on the back and move on when things go right, but evaluating those situations can often reveal potential weaknesses in decision-making or execution that didn’t cause problems this time, but may create difficulties in the future.
7. Seek Feedback
Self-awareness is a key part of successful resilient leadership. When leaders know how their behavior and actions are perceived by others, they can get a better sense of what strategies are effective and which ones are detrimental. By gathering feedback from others, they can reevaluate their performance and adjust accordingly to become more effective. This helps them to become more accustomed to asking difficult questions about themselves and handling criticism, which is essential for becoming more resilient in the face of challenging situations.
8. Take Risks
Resilience is built over time by taking on new challenges and confronting the possibility of failure. When leaders cling to the status quo in every situation, they don’t become comfortable stepping outside their comfort zone and exposing themselves to risk. But not every situation will provide them with such a comfortable environment for making decisions. Sometimes there won’t be enough information or time, requiring them to go out on a limb and make difficult choices that could lead to undesirable consequences. When the time for those decisions arrives, leaders should be comfortable with those risks. If they already know how to bounce back from failure, they are less likely to freeze up in a difficult situation.
9. Communicate Frequently
Organizations can’t function effectively when information doesn’t flow where it needs to in critical moments. Successful leaders work hard to create and strengthen communication channels for their teams to ensure that the right people have access to the right information at the right time. This is especially important in a crisis situation, where decisions need to be made quickly. Effective communication makes leaders more resilient because they can adapt quickly when things go wrong and keep a clear picture of what’s happening with their teams at any given moment.
10. Set Goals
Every decision leaders make should be connected to the goals they’re trying to accomplish. When leaders don’t know what they’re trying to achieve, it can be difficult to adapt to changing situations and recover from unexpected setbacks. Having those goals in place allows leaders to put their decisions and actions in context, allowing them to see how every decision and action helps to bring them closer to their ultimate objectives. A clear vision also helps teams to focus on what’s important when obstacles temporarily disrupt their plans.
Building resilience is incredibly important for leaders navigating the challenges of today’s fast-moving business environment. By focusing on the skills and behaviors that allow them to recover from setbacks and adapt to unforeseen changes, they can become more resilient and provide the leadership and support that their teams need to be successful.
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