7 Ways to be a Resilient Leader

7 ways to be a resilient leader

Leadership is hard. It’s fraught with heartbreak, sacrifice, pain, challenges, and emotional duress. And why not? Leadership is solving problems and dealing with people. If it were easy, great leaders would be in abundance. But they’re not. In fact great leadership is the rarest and most valuable commodity on Earth. But here, it’s our goal to help forge great leaders, and great people. So this post is devoted to ways you can develop resilience while slaying those challenges.

The pathway to resilient leadership is through embracing change as opportunity, building emotional intelligence, agile decision-making, cultivating a learning mindset, fostering flexibility and adaptability, using communication as a pillar, and leading by example. Resilient leadership has emerged as a critical trait for success, enabling leaders to adapt to change and conquer adversity with unwavering strength and grace.

Embracing Change as an Opportunity

Resilient leaders view change as a chance for growth rather than a threat. They understand that change brings new perspectives, challenges, and opportunities. By fostering a culture that embraces change, these leaders inspire their teams to evolve and innovate, helping the organization stay competitive and agile.

Building Emotional Intelligence

It’s remarkable how often emotional intelligence pops up when writing these articles. It’s no surprise that EI is a cornerstone for so many skills and so many disciplines, especially for thought workers. It’s so, so important as a skill because adversity often brings about heightened emotions and stress. Resilient leaders exhibit emotional intelligence by understanding and managing their emotions and those of their team members. This skill enables them to communicate effectively, provide empathetic support, and create a positive work environment even during challenging times.

Decisive Action

In turbulent times, quick and well-informed decisions are crucial. Resilient leaders possess the ability to analyze situations swiftly, weigh the pros and cons, and make decisions that align with the organization’s goals. Their agility prevents paralysis by analysis and ensures forward momentum. Jocko Willink and Lief Babin in their groundbreaking book “Extreme Ownership” calls this mindset “default aggressive.” They break it down into 3 simple rules.

  • Stay calm
  • Look around (do a quick scan of the landscape, ie weigh pros and cons)
  • Make a call

Passivity is death, both on the battlefield and in business.

Cultivate a Learning Mindset

Resilient leaders are lifelong learners. They recognize that every setback or failure is a lesson in disguise. By fostering a culture of continuous learning, they encourage their teams to adapt, acquire new skills, and stay ahead of industry trends, fostering innovation and progress.

Embracing Flexibility and Adaptability

Change is the only thing which never changes. Get used to dealing with change. In fact, we wrote an entire article on dealing with change effectively. Leadership often requires adjusting strategies and plans, sometimes midstream. Resilient leaders are flexible and adaptable, willing to revise their approaches while keeping their end goals in mind. This adaptability empowers their teams to navigate uncertainty and find creative solutions to emerging challenges.

Never value following the plan over reaching the goal. The plan is a tool; the goal is the prize. Sometimes the plan was good when it started, then an unforeseen event or circumstance popped up during execution which changes the evaluation. Having any plan is better than no plan, but don’t get so married to your plan you cannot adjust for inevitable unexpected variables. In “The Psychology of Money” by Morgan Housel, the author states emphatically the following nugget of wisdom.

“The best plan is to plan on your plan not going according to plan.”

~Morgan Housel~

View Good Communication as a Pillar of Success

Pursuant to the last point about being flexible, when plans change, communication becomes paramount. Resilient leaders communicate transparently and authentically, sharing the organization’s vision, updates, and potential obstacles. This openness builds trust, minimizes confusion, and rallies the team around a common purpose.

Lead by Example

Resilient leaders set the tone for their teams. They exhibit unwavering determination and perseverance, even in the face of adversity. By demonstrating their commitment to the organization’s values and goals, they inspire their teams to follow suit, fostering a collective spirit of resilience.

Resilient leadership is not just a leadership style; it’s a mindset that empowers individuals and organizations to thrive amidst change and adversity. By embracing change, cultivating emotional intelligence, making decisive choices, fostering a learning mindset, being flexible, communicating effectively, and leading by example, resilient leaders pave the way for their teams to conquer challenges with strength and grace.

Photo by Alex Shute on Unsplash

Erik Murrah

Author, nerd, chess player, artist, business owner, runner, mediocre philosopher, outdoorsman. Creator of the Arise Tribe.

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