Who would have thought millions would be laid off? Businesses shut down? Schools closed? Working from remote offices? Investments taking a major hit? Afraid to be close to one another? Hug each other? Shake hands? Once again, it is time for all of us to tap into our well of resiliency—the ability to recover from sudden changes or hardships.
Resiliency helps us to adapt successfully to the changes around us and recover from the stress of adversity. In other words, how will we manage all of the new “normal” things presented to us when we return to work, reopen our businesses and begin networking once again?
In the past, some of the most ridiculous things would happen in our workplace. Over and over again, the resilient leader steps in—without hesitation—to correct a situation and immediately adapt to the change while simultaneously demonstrating optimism and flexibility.
In the past, we have observed the non-resilient employees that are defensive, exhausted, burned out, cynical and having difficulty adapting to the sudden sea of changes.
Resiliency is not a nice skill to have, but a must-have for leaders. In a world of changing businesses, bosses and rules and pandemics, the basic principles of resilience are critical for operating in a whirlwind of change.
Can you develop resiliency? Absolutely. But are you willing to take on a major challenge? Are you willing to change your views, habits, and responses by modifying your thoughts and actions? By improving in all of these areas, you will increase your ability to adapt to sudden change.
Acceptance of Change
Change is constant—we hear this phrase all of the time—and to many, the word evokes the feeling of fear. Why? We may lose control. We may feel uncomfortable because we do not want to admit a weakness. After all, we have been successful for so long, so it is easier to ignore how we operate rather than looking at ourselves to improve.
Resilient leaders accept change and adapt. If you are uncomfortable with change, seek out new challenges that will stretch your skills. Take a serious look at what changes you can control within your organization. The changes you cannot control (i.e. COVID-19, virtual work environment, downsizing) require you to control your emotions.
Acquiring new skills and improving upon our old skills are at the heart of resiliency. Perhaps learning to work remotely will be the new normal for you. There is great comfort and security with being familiar with your old self. But if you do not learn new skills, the odds increase that you will feel less competent during a challenging situation.
Take a look at the success you have had during the past year. What did you learn from that experience? What knowledge did you draw upon to help you with this experience? Resilient leaders draw on past experiences.
A key to creating your future is taking charge of yourself. Self-empowerment enables you to take charge of your emotions and behaviors despite what is going on around you. Do you know what your strengths are? Are you challenging yourself by developing new skills? Resilient individuals are always analyzing their strengths.
Sense of Purpose
Being resilient is understanding what your most important value is. What do you do at work and at home that reflects this value? A sense of purpose signifies a direction you are going in, your aspirations, motivation and persistence. A resilient leader’s confidence is directly related to their sense of purpose.
Your leadership brand is about building and maintaining your name and reputation. Positive words and actions will protect your reputation, while negative choices will hurt your image and your family name. The core value supporting your personal identity is the representation of a group first—your family or your company—followed by your individual or personal brand. What people say about you really matters. It is very difficult to achieve your goals with a tarnished reputation. How many of your colleagues will do business with you if they do not trust you?
“You Must Earn Credibility, Not Expect It”
You must work at building and maintaining credibility so others are confident about doing business with you. One way to earn credibility is to keep your promises. Another way to earn credibility is honesty. Resilient leaders know that their decisions reflect on many brands. These brands include family name, reputation, the company and the industry. Your leadership brand will sell naturally, so make your brand work for you.
The Butterfly Effect
The butterfly effect is a common metaphor for illustrating that small change emerges when there is chaos or a crisis. Eventually, the small change will lead to a much larger change for the future.
When you eventually emerge from your cocoon (prefer this word over quarantine), what changes will you face? What changes will you develop or support? Will you have the courage to tap into your well of resiliency? Will your eyes be wide open to a fresh perspective? Will you be willing and able to help others to endure the rigors of the butterfly effect?