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 times better and stay in your role for longer, helping you to improve your career and gain credibility.
Now that we know more about what resilience is, 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. You can read about these simple exercises in this post: Why We Need More Mindfulness In Leadership Today.
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.
Mindfulness can also help you improve your Emotional Intelligence, which is another critical leadership trait. You can read more about Emotional Intelligence in this comprehensive article by PositivePsychology.com.
2. Build Resilience by Being More Grateful
Gratitude is yet another topic that I see everywhere. For years, I ignored it. Then, one day in a tough leadership role, 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 surroundings, 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 prevents 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 big 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 just being grateful for your morning cup of coffee, or the wagging of your dog’s tail when you get back from a long day at work. What matters is that you build resilience by training your brain to notice the positive parts of work and life.
Learn More: Why leaders should show gratitude, even for the little things.
3. Build Resilience by Being Healthier
You might think that your general fitness and health levels have nothing to do with leadership. For me, that’s not the case at all. I find that when I feel fit and healthy, I feel more confident about myself.
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 a good thing anyway, because it also helps you to resist the harmful effects of stress. This can be vitally important in busy leadership roles.
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 and good self-esteem. 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.
You need to know when to quit.
Learn More: 3 Ways Leaders Can Survive a Toxic Work Environment.
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 this for years, but when I started working on it, I saw the benefits that it can bring.
How do you build your resilience? Do you struggle to cope? Share your stories in the comments below!
Alternatively, if you would like to ask a question or need some help, you can send me a private message through my contact page.
Hey Ben, That’s comforting that you mention family when labelling things for which/whom you are grateful.
Of course these things are high on my list :)