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16 Effective Strategies To Become A More Resilient Leader

Expert Panel® Forbes Councils | Source


Being in leadership is a demanding and challenging role that requires you to navigate complex situations full of uncertainty on a regular basis. Despite your best decision-making efforts, you may not always see the results you desire in every scenario. This is why developing resilience is so essential for leaders—to cope with stress, overcome setbacks and maintain your effectiveness.


There are effective strategies you can adopt to build more internal resilience in your role as leader and throughout your career. To learn how to overcome the inevitable challenges that come along with being a leader and bounce back quickly, check out the resilience-building practices recommended by Forbes Coaches Council members below.


1. Connect With Your ‘Why’

When times seem tough, I recommend connecting with your “why.” What is the big purpose or impact you wanted to contribute to when you got this job? Often, leaders join an organization because they believe in the purpose they serve and feel they can contribute and extend that purpose. Connect to that, and all the contributions you have personally made along the way, to rise through the current storm. - Sandra Colhando, TransforMe Learning


2. Practice Mindfulness

First, mindfulness helps leaders to understand themselves better, as well as the impact they have on others. This enables them to think more clearly and take necessary action before the situation spirals out of control. Secondly, it helps cultivate self-compassion, thus helping to reduce the emotional toll of difficult situations so that you can remain productive. - Anna Barnhill, Barnhill Group Consulting, Inc


3. Keep A Grip On What You Can Control

Always remember that leadership starts from within—master your abilities, strengths and weaknesses. There are usually only a few things within your control and many others outside of it. To lead effectively and succeed, keep a firm grip on the things within your control; they will help you build the resilience needed to navigate leadership and the things outside of your control. - Adesola Adesakin, Smart Stewards

4. Be Okay With Failing

Celebrate failure in retrospectives, exploring how you failed and what you learned. Resilience comes from bouncing back, having the courage to keep going and acknowledging that learning comes from doing, failing fast, failing early and then adapting to something new. People who are adaptable and comfortable outside their comfort zone will “know themselves” and develop that growth mindset faster. - Joanne Markow, GreenMason


5. Get To Know Your Colleagues

Resilience is centered on internal thoughts, but there is one best practice that goes beyond self-reflection. Executives will say they don’t have time to make friends at work, but if you ask anyone to speak about a time they bounced back, they often credit the help of others. Time spent connecting with colleagues can seem like a low priority, but it may actually be the best investment you can make. - Cynthia Knapek, LeadingBetter


6. Embrace Guidance From Experts

Embrace expert guidance from those who have defeated the challenges you are facing. Although it may seem as if you are the only person in the world facing your current frustrations, it is likely that others have faced this challenge and defeated it. Two great resources are podcasts and/or books created by individuals who have solved a particular problem. - Robert Gauvreau, Gauvreau | Accounting Tax Law Advisory


7. Take Risks And Be Ready To Fail

You can’t intellectually become more resilient. Resilience comes from experience: lessons learned, mistakes made and risks taken. Want to be more resilient? Take more risks. Test and fail fast. Stay the course and embrace the discomfort. Every tough situation you go through is the perfect preparation for the challenges that are coming next that you can’t see. - Shelley Willingham, The Diversity Movement


8. Craft Your Rebound And Return To Neutral

Some stress is okay, perhaps even energizing, but compounded stress can crush you. Two keys to avoid compounded stress are crafting your rebound and returning to neutral. Like elite athletes, leaders need a practical rebound routine to release negative pressure. Every new task should start from net zero to avoid compounding stress. Resilience is in knowing your neutral and using your rebound. - Marita Decker, FutureCourse Education


9. Develop Self-Awareness

By understanding and managing their emotions, leaders will be better equipped to handle difficult situations gracefully and clearly. This could involve engaging in activities such as journaling or meditation, practicing self-care techniques such as deep breathing exercises or taking regular breaks and reflecting on lessons learned from past experiences. - Giorgio Genaus, Genius Institute


10. Reduce The Impact Of Your Stressors

Work out where your stress comes from, and then find simple, practical and easy steps to reduce its impact on your life. If you’re less stressed, you don’t need to be anywhere near as resilient because there are fewer things that will impact you on a regular basis. - Bronwen Sciortino, sheIQ Life Pty Ltd


11. Cultivate A Higher Stress Threshold

The old version of resilience (to bounce back quickly) is no longer sufficient to manage the demands placed on leadership today. Leaders need to cultivate a higher stress threshold so that they can effectively deal with a lot more. To do this, leaders need to seek out “challenge stress” and do something that pushes them into discomfort every day—from having a tough conversation to doing vigorous exercise. - Andrew Deutscher, Regenerate


12. Document Strategic And Preparedness Plans

Being resilient, like a rubber band, means to snap back into place after being stretched. Documented planning is the most reliable way to respond quickly and effectively to challenges and get back to business as usual. Have a written strategic plan and a written preparedness plan. When something out of the ordinary happens, you can respond easily and then get back on track. - John Knotts, Crosscutter Enterprises


13. Address What Is Draining Your Energy

You can’t deal with a full plate if your cup is empty. To become a more resilient leader, you must continuously address what is draining your energy or becoming an addiction. Turn off alerts from your emails and apps. Take a walk instead of impulsively checking the news. Take the first 20 minutes of your workday for yourself so you can be better prepared to show up for others. - Sheri Nasim, Center for Executive Excellence


14. Practice Being Present In The Moment

Reflect on and learn from the past and take time to plan for the future. In other words, you cannot change past events, but you can take lessons to avoid acting in the same way again. Plan for the future, but do not overly emphasize what can go wrong—plan for both the benefits and the risks that face you in the future. - Charles Dormer, APEX STP, LLC


15. Stop Guilt-Tripping Yourself

To become more resilient, you must first stop guilt-tripping yourself. As a leader, you are responsible for a lot. When you maintain the strategy of precise focus, consistency and flexibility, you are able to course-correct on time, succeed more and learn more. Resilience is a skill that should be practiced daily. - Alla Adam, Alla Adam Coaching


16. Refuse To Camp Out In Your Pain

There’s a great quote by Alan Cohen that says, “Use pain as a stepping stone, not a campground.” Resiliency happens when we refuse to camp out in our pain. When we teach leaders how to acknowledge what they feel and reflect on what they can learn from the situation, then we give them a new perspective on how to take the right next step forward. It changes everything! - Justin Patton, justinpatton.com


Article: ©2023 Forbes Media LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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