Resilience Full Stop

For over 25 years I have worked in the area of executive coaching and leadership development and there are few environments that consistently challenge individuals for ongoing growth as much as organizations do.

Today organizations are required to work globally and partner in creative ways and at paces they have never experienced before. Add to that, there is a level of scrutiny and transparency that is unprecedented. People in leadership positions are facing so much pressure that it is taking a significant toll on their well-being. They need help to cope with these pressures. It’s a “new normal” and so new ways of coping will be required.

The mindset that will help most for managing this in my opinion will be building their capacity for resilience and it is I believe one of, if not the greatest, differentiators of success for our future leaders.

Resilience defined in a dictionary is about the ability to spring back and recover from difficult situations quickly. We do that when we are grounded and confident in who we are and where we come from. We can then approach people and situations with generosity and acceptance, in the moment and present to what is happening around us. When we lack that self-awareness and understanding then we show up as reactive, not clear on what we are necessarily reacting to but bothered. When that happens, we are not dealing with the problems facing us but conflicted and either forcing opinions or doubting ourselves.

What we need to do to is help leaders become aware of this: where are they leading with confidence, where are they driven by fear and then build practices for turning reactivity and fear into beliefs and behaviors that are more supportive and less self-critical.

We evolve our beliefs and behaviors when we are willing to examine and challenge them. Situations and events, stresses and conflicts force a re-examination of beliefs and values that can lead to new behaviors. It is a process that takes courage as forces us to give up old ways of thinking in order to accept and adapt to new ones.

We need to help leaders become more proficient in recognizing how their day-to-day lives are impacting their behaviors. They need to manage their views and behaviors as part of their daily practices if they hope to overcome and thrive with the challenges they are facing. They need to commit and be prepared to do the work because it won’t happen otherwise. Resilience requires daily practices of mindfulness, checking in, monitoring and evaluating responses and being willing to make changes. It is a full-time commitment and one that can be supported by engaging a professional coach or through self-learning. Bottom line – leaders need to start placing the value of their mental health and quality of their reactivity as strongly as they do any other priority or value if they want to position themselves for success.

Jennifer MacLeod M.ED, PCC.