Leadership resilience revolves around effectively dealing with work related problems, pressure and stress in a professional and positive manner.
All leaders at every level face stress, frustration, criticism or rejection from time to time.
In short, it comes with the job!
Nevertheless, being able to persevere when things do not go as planned, to remain positive under stressful circumstances, or to accept criticism from others and use it to make things better, are often what differentiates highly effective leaders from their peers.
In our executive coaching work with hundreds of leaders across most industry verticals, two domains emerge that are key distinguishing traits between being effective and ineffective in this foundational leadership competency.
Let’s look at each and provide specific actionable strategies on how you can be better within each one.
Domain One: Effective leaders remain positive and productive under stressful circumstances
The key here is to begin by accepting the fact that difficulties, stress and pressure are part of every job.
The more you focus on how stressful your job is, the more overwhelmed you are likely to feel.
Look for ways to give yourself control of the situation and focus on a positive outcome.
To this point, try the following:
- Approach Directly: Whenever possible, approach stressful situations or problems directly while coming to a resolution or solution as quickly as possible, rather than just brooding over them
- Be Objective: Try to step back and see the situation from an objective point of view. Focus on solving the problem without allowing your feelings to interfere
- Discuss the situation with a neutral person, someone who can see the situation from an objective, third-party perspective. If you cannot find a neutral person, try to play this role for yourself and consider what advice such a person would offer
- At first, do not worry about who is at fault or why the situation occurred. Instead, focus on problem solving and finding solutions – what can you do to solve this problem?
- Later, once the situation has been resolved, consider the events that led up to the problem situation and try to find ways to avoid this type of situation in the future
- Recognize Your Limitations: Do as much as you can then ask for help when you need it
- It’s All About Your Attitude:Often the difference between success and failure is a positive attitude. Expect good outcomes then have the persistence and determination to keep working hard during difficult periods
The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitude of mind.” – William James, Psychologist
- Accept What You Cannot Change: If the issue that is bothering you is something you cannot fix, try to accept or ignore it and focus your efforts on something you can control or influence. Avoid wasting your energy worrying about things beyond your control
- Maintain A Sense of Humor: Sometimes it will be your ability to see the funny side of the situation or to laugh at yourself that will help you to persevere through a difficult time
- Use Other Skills: If you do not possess these skills already, develop your skills in time management, work planning, and decision-making. These will help you to be more effective and to feel more in control of your work situation
- Give Yourself a Mental Break: A few minutes of quiet respite from work demands can relieve stress and pressure. For some this involves taking the time to have a solitary lunch. For others, planned physical exercise (walking, running, swimming, or yoga) is most useful
Domain Two: Effective Leaders deal with negative feedback and criticism in a professional manner
Ask yourself why your feelings are hurt when someone gives you negative feedback or criticism.
Is it because you demand perfection of yourself and overreact to any suggestion that you are less than the best?
If so, remember that everyone has things they do well and other things they do less well. Do not react so strongly to criticism that you cannot profit from the feedback.
To this point, try the following:
- Be Objective: The next time you feel someone is being overly critical of you, step back from the situation and try to view it in a more objective manner. Maybe they are just trying to give you information to help you and are not making a statement about your personal value or worth
- Take The Good With The Bad: Remember that all of us need both positive and negative feedback to grow and develop. Try to accept both gracefully. If you respond too defensively, people may stop providing you with this valuable information.
- Remain Calm: When you feel yourself becoming frustrated or defensive, try to remain calm. Take a few deep breaths to relax and loosen the tension; then focus on what is being said.
- Improve Your Self-Esteem: Try to improve your self-esteem so that negative feedback or rejection does not affect you so deeply, or for very long. Practice positive self-talk or affirmations and make a list – committing it to memory – of all the things you and others like about yourself, and the things you do well
- Don’t Kill The Messenger: Recognize that others may not always know how to give feedback in the most kind or pleasing way. In spite of this, the information they give may be useful
Practicing resilience and the traits surrounding this key leadership competency is something that can be learned and honed over time.
While every leader has at one time experienced the many frustrations that come from being a leader, not all leaders are open, able or willing to cope with this stress the same way.
Leaders who exhibit resilience demonstrate the following behaviors:
- They are consistently positive in their attitudes about work
- The consistently behave in a professional manner, regardless of circumstance
- They maintain a positive attitude despite stress and frustration
- They recover quickly from disappointment, customer rejection, unfulfilled expectations and other setbacks
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image of stress ball: stress.lovetoknow.com