critical thinking leadership weekly workout Aug 12, 2022

This week I have been thinking about resilience as it relates to effective leadership and extraordinary leaders.

What is resilience? Merriam Webster defines resilience as an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change.”

I am sure you have heard it said many times in the past that “the only constant is change.”  We have all certainly been impacted by the tremendous changes our world has undergone over the last few years.

Many businesses had to adapt significantly in order to sustain the effect of these changes. Leaders were asked to lead in new and innovative ways, as the individuals and teams they led were attempting to adapt to family and work situations never before faced.

As a result of some of these changes, the world has been forced to adjust to new “norms” including hybrid work environments, K-12 virtual learning, and many others.

Because of the critical situation that caused these significant changes many people did not have an opportunity to “adjust easily” to the rapid changes taking place.

As we continue to define and discover what the new normal will mean in the future it is extremely important that we apply resilience to the process.

Some of the people I work with struggle with developing and applying resilience to the more significant changes in their lives. Developing resiliency improves any situation regardless of how significant or difficult it might be. 

Often times this struggle results from an inability to accept the reality of the situation before them.

You cannot develop and cultivate resilience if you are unwilling to accept the facts, despite how you might feel about them.

Not accepting the facts and not developing resilience keeps you entrenched in the misfortune even when the conditions have changed.

Resiliency is not denial. It does not mean that you reject how you might be feeling. It means that despite how you feel you are able to begin shifting your thoughts.

Thoughts and words that keep you immersed in the misfortune do not allow for the development of resilience.

Because resiliency is the ability to recover it is important to begin focusing your thoughts around identifying the solutions and options that are available as you recover from the experience. 

On a personal level, it means that you identify what you need in order to adjust and move forward. Once identified you must fulfill those needs that will allow you to develop your resilience.

In business, it means essentially the same thing!

While some people are instinctually resilient many of the clients I work with continuously strive to develop resiliency. Like many of the leadership characteristics I write about cultivating resiliency is a process that occurs over time.

To begin or continue developing your resiliency:

  1. Consider some of the experiences in your life when you thought you could not recover or adjust to a significant or difficult change. Remind yourself that you did in fact recover.
  2. Notice how much time you spend replaying the past misfortune or experience.
  3. If you are replaying as a way to identify a lesson or opportunity related to the experience, then once identified move forward.
  4. When you notice your thoughts automatically replaying the experience shift your thinking from auto replay of the past to considering potential options for the current situation.
  5. As best you can stay in the facts of the present. Refrain from creating stories about what the future will hold.

Remember that resilience is the ability to recover from whatever occurs in your life. Spending energy replaying past events is often demotivating and deenergizing. Creating strategies that lessen the impact of adversity strengthens your ability to cultivate resilience.


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