Being able to build resilience is an important skill for managers and leaders. Resilience is the ability to bounce back from failure, stay positive and adapt well to stress and difficult situations. You can read more about resilience at PsychCentral.
No matter who you lead, you will have bad days and stressful times. If you build resilience, you’ll be able to handle these better and stay in your role for longer, helping you to improve your career and gain credibility.
4 ways leaders can build resilience
Now we know what resilience is about, let’s look at some ways we can build resilience as leaders and managers.
1. Build resilience by being mindful
Mindfulness is a popular topic these days. For many years I avoided it, seeing it as a “new age hippie” topic. Now, I do simple mindfulness exercises every day before work.
Mindfulness helps you to remain aware of your feelings, surroundings and helps you to focus. This is important in helping to build resilience because when you are aware of your own thoughts and feelings, you can prevent yourself reacting badly to things that happen at work.
The idea is not to stop yourself from having bad thoughts or feelings. It’s about noticing when they happen, preventing you from having an automatic, emotional response.
You can learn more about mindfulness in this post from mindful.org.
2. Build resilience by being more grateful
Gratitude is yet another topic that I see everywhere. For years, I ignored it. Then, one day I decided I wanted to start feeling more positive about life. Gratitude helps you build resilience because it trains your brain to find positives in your life, even when you aren’t feeling very good.
If you can form a habit of finding the positives in situations, you’re more likely to be able to do this at work, too. It stops everything from feeling like “doom and gloom”.
You can try it yourself, it’s simple. Every day, write down five things you are grateful for. They can be really important things, or trivial things that you sometimes take for granted. For me, my wife and family appear in my gratitude list frequently. But sometimes, you might include small things like being grateful for your morning cup of coffee.
What matters is that you build resilience by training your brain to notice the positive parts of work and life.
3. Build resilience by being fit and healthy
You might think that your general fitness levels have nothing to do with leadership. For me, that’s not the case at all. I find when I feel fit and healthy, I feel more confident in general.
Then, when I face a challenge at work, I am more likely to feel as if I can overcome it. Not because of my fitness levels, but because of the general confidence that being healthy brings.
Of course, being healthy is good anyway and it can also help you to resist the harmful effects of stress.
4. Build resilience by knowing when you’ve had enough
Resilience doesn’t mean you should be happy with constant stress and unhappiness. You don’t build resilience just so that you can handle a toxic workplace. Sure, resilience helps, but in a toxic workplace, no matter how resilient you are, you will eventually struggle.
Resilience is also about having a sense of self-worth. Knowing that you are a good and capable person. You don’t build resilience by constantly putting up with horrible people and bad work environments. This usually destroys self confidence and can make you feel worthless.
Make sure you keep track of your own stress levels and feelings and understand when you’ve had enough. Sometimes, people think that resilience means putting up with rubbish for long periods. This is more likely to make you unhappy than to build real resilience. Know when to quit.
If you do work in a toxic environment, you can read this post about how to survive it.
Building resilience is important for any type of leader or manager. You need to be able to handle your role effectively and still feel good about yourself. I ignored resilience for years. But when I started working on it, I saw the benefits that it brings.