Building and demonstrating resilience in a time of crisis

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These are difficult times, with unprecedented changes to work and society norms. We are all figuring out how to ride the changes, respond to the challenges and keep our teams and companies going. And this is when resilient leaders really come into their own, boosting their teams, keeping them focused on dealing with the present and being optimistic about the future.

What is resilience?

Resilience is our internal shock absorber, our ability to ‘bounce back’ and not to be derailed when faced with difficulties. As Angela Duckworth outlines in her book Grit, resilience is a mixture of passion and persistence. In fact, in terms of personal and professional success, research has shown resilience is as important, if not more important, than talent.

You may well be more resilient than you think.

As Eleanor Roosevelt said, A woman is like a tea bag; you never know how strong it is until it’s in hot water. Click To Tweet

And while everyone has different levels of psychological resilience, it’s a ‘plastic’ personality trait – which means it’s something you can learn and build on, even when the going is tough.

Why we need it – particularly as female leaders and especially now

Resilience helps us to:

Overcome setbacks – Women can often feel that they lack support in the workplace, battling unconscious gender bias and suffering from a lack of female role models. Or, like now, they are faced with challenging, unforeseen external stresses to deal with. Resilience helps us keep going, find a way through and come out stronger than before.

Feel in control – There are always going to be ups and downs in life and business.

Being resilient isn’t about avoiding the challenges and stresses, but rather about learning how to face and deal with them. Click To Tweet

A resilient mindset helps you keep positive and composed as you look for the best solutions to problems. And this then makes your team more confident in you as a leader.

Show commitment – As a resilient leader, you remain dedicated to your team and to your company’s mission in tough times, boosting engagement and commitment. This is particularly important now with many teams split up and working remotely, worker isolation and rapidly changing working practices. Your resilience in the face of this can help keep the team involved now and hopeful about the future.

How to build your resilience 

1.     Think positive

Developing a positive, growth mindset can feed into your resilience. Look to embrace change, approaching situations with a ‘can do’ mindset. This can then also help and motivate others through such a time of transition and uncertain outcomes. And if things don’t go to plan, view it as a chance to learn rather than a failure.

Changing the way you look at a situation can also take away some of its power to stress you:

Is it the event itself you react to, both emotionally and behaviourally? Or, is it your view of the event rather than the event itself that largely determines your reaction?

The first approach assumes you’re a passive recipient of whatever happens to you in life, which can make you feel trapped. The second encourages you to take personal responsibility for how you think and feel about it. You can then affect your reaction in a positive way.

2.     Be kind to yourself

Intentionally fill your reserves and build your resources.  Women in leadership have pressures both at work and at home, and may be juggling more than ever now – which can be overwhelming. Set aside time to decompress and help restore your positivity and mental stamina. You need it to be resilient.

Don’t run on empty. Refuel all the time, with friends and family where you can, sleep and exercise and through paying attention to what nourishes you. This gives you the necessary resources to cope when the unexpected happens, or when you’re in it for the long haul.

3.     Remember the why

Remind yourself why you are doing what you are doing and the difference you are making. We can get through a lot of challenging things when we know why. Click To Tweet

And in the tough current climate, connecting with your ‘why’ will provide the positive energy you need to keep moving forward.

The coming weeks and months will undoubtedly bring more challenges and stresses for you and your teams. Practising resilience will help you be there for others and also for yourself, enabling you to look for the best ways to keep going and to see a positive future ahead.

As always thanks for reading this and sharing it. Feel free to read more on my blog page.

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