ARTICLE: Becoming a Resilient Leader

3 min read | Guest Blogger


Resilience - the ability to overcome challenges and turn them into opportunities - may be the new criterion for professional advancement, according to Accenture. A global research study entitled Women Leaders and Resilience: Perspectives from the C-Suite, reports that more than two-thirds (71%) of surveyed senior level executives report that resilience is critical in determining employee retainability during an economic downturn. Moreover, these leaders view women as slightly more resilient than men and are providing their female professionals with programs to develop resilience. 

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There is one key question within the research: Is one born with resilience or can resilience be learned? Accenture's study finds that resilience can be learned. As with other leadership competencies, resilience is comprised of a set of skills and knowledge that you can develop through disciplined practice. 

To understand resilience in the context of leadership, it is important to have a starting definition of leadership. According to Susan Colantuono, CEO and founder of Leading Women and author of No Ceiling No Walls, "Leadership is using the greatness in you to achieve and sustain extraordinary outcomes by engaging the greatness of others"  Using this definition, here are 5 steps you can take to enhance your resilience:

Use the greatness in you

1. Focus on your strengths. In the face of adversity remember the strengths that have gotten you where you are and ask how can they be applied to overcome the current challenge.

2. Be a "winner.” There’s no whining in business, so practice looking for and proposing solutions, instead of simply identifying problems.

3. Stay healthy. Stressful situations are the time to remain focused on your physical, mental and emotional health. Take action to eat right, get the sleep you need, remember to breathe, focus on gratitude and appreciation and all the other actions you know are important to a healthy life.

Achieve and sustain outcomes

4. Be "for the business.” Understand the outcomes that tell the story of your organization's health and look for innovative ways to improve them even in the face of difficulties. Here, your understanding of the business of the business and the relationships between cash, growth, return and customer become key. For more on this, buy yourself a copy of No Ceiling, No Walls.

Engage the greatness in others

5. Deliver a future-focused message of hope. Our work with CEOs during the crash of 2009 and the subsequent great recession shows that the most effective are those who, even in the face of devastating financials, kept their organizations focused on the future by communicating faith in their teams along with hope for and a path toward the future.

You have everything it takes to strengthen your leadership resilience. Using our 3-part definition of leadership will help you focus on taking the right steps.  


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