Gamechanger, disruptor, innovator, and of course…authentic are all labels that have been heavily touted to describe leadership.

As leaders are facing change and uncertainty at a rate never seen before, due to the coronavirus – a new kid on the block has emerged.

Meet, #resilience.

A word that’s everywhere these days and by almost everyone, but one that has been discussed for decades. You only need to open your email to find numerous bloggers, writers and scientific experts telling you why you should be resilient.

Although there is a lot of great information out there from reputable sources, there’s no shortage of textperts hopping on the resilience bandwagon citing a wide array of facts and fiction.

The global pandemic of #covid19 has impacted our world in horrible ways but has also surprised us with some unexpectedly positive ones too. Between the climate getting a reprieve to restore itself if only temporarily, we’ve seen a resurgence of humanity being called forth to come together.

This includes new ways for leaders at all levels to navigate their life and the lives of their employees through these unprecedented times

So who should you believe?

Who is right?

Who is trustworthy?

It’s hard to say, nor would I bet you a roll of toilet paper on the answer, but I will break this down so you can determine your own resonance on resilience.

What It Means

Often collapsed with grit, fearlessness, mentally strong or passionate – resilient (defined by Webster) states:

  • Capable of withstanding shock without permanent deformation or rupture; tending to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change. 

Resilience is about creating the proper mindset, mood, and maneuvering regardless of whatever life throws at you. It’s about overcoming external obstacles from within.

This applies not just to pandemics but also people, process and politics in the workplace.

Resilience has been associated with greater job satisfaction, work happiness, organizational commitment, and employee engagement. Raising resilience contributes to improved self-esteem, and improved employee interpersonal relationships.

Sounds great right? Who wouldn’t want to be resilient right now as we cope, manage and strive to understand and deal with the current crisis?

Why It Matters

The good news is that being resilient is a skill anyone can learn and sharpen, and it’s never too late to give it a try.

Coping with the stressors of life in a positive way has many health benefits associated with it such as longevity, lower rates of depression, and greater satisfaction with life. This can lead to feeling more in control of yourself and how you respond to what’s happening around you.

Developing emotional resilience can be achieved with a little work from yourself – on yourself. According to the article 5 Steps to Help Build Emotional Resilience there are a few key aspects to practice:

  • Select self-efficacy: Use critical thinking, reasoning and problem-solving techniques on your own so you will trust your instincts more.
  • Emphasize empathy: Empathy helps build our own self-worth. We practice seeing ourselves and everyone around us as having value, yet not promoting entitlement or enabling anyone.
  • Practice patience: Use your self-talk and be mindful when you’re in a difficult situation. Notice what is happening while you have to wait for something rather than focusing on the losses
  • Create capacity: Instead of finding something temporal to ease discomfort, we need to be asking ourselves what the root cause might be.
  • Perceive possibilities: Be curious and strive to make connections to bridge knowledge gaps.

Still unsure if this applies to you or any leader right now?

Consider this gem: Abraham Lincoln wouldn’t be president if he hadn’t possessed the resilience necessary to overcome a wave of professional defeats.

  • In 1832, he was defeated by the state legislature.
  • In 1838, he was defeated by the speaker of the statehouse.
  • In 1840, he was defeated for the elector.
  • In 1843, he ran for Congress and he was defeated.
  • In 1846, he was elected for Congress and then lost for re-election in 1849.
  • In 1855, he ran for U.S. Senate and was defeated.
  • In 1856, he was defeated for Vice-President.
  • In 1858, he ran (again) for the U.S. Senate and lost.
  • In 1860, he was finally elected President of the United States.

How To Embody It

People who possess high levels of resilience are typically strong problem solvers, manage their emotional state, possess a strong social support system and see themselves as fighters, not victims.

According to an article by psychologist Susan Kobasa, there are three elements that are essential to resilience:

  1. Challenge – Resilient people view difficulty as a challenge, not as a paralyzing event. They look at their failures and mistakes as lessons to be learned from, and as opportunities for growth. They don’t view them as a negative reflection on their abilities or self-worth.
  2. Commitment – Resilient people are committed to their lives and their goals, and they have a compelling reason to get out of bed in the morning. Commitment isn’t just restricted to their work – they commit to their relationships, their friendships, the causes they care about, and their religious or spiritual beliefs.
  3. Personal Control – Resilient people spend their time and energy focusing on situations and events that they have control over. Because they put their efforts where they can have the most impact, they feel empowered and confident. Those who spend time worrying about uncontrollable events can often feel lost, helpless, and powerless to take action.
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In summary: Resiliency is for anyone because everyone will ultimately face some setback in life. Adopting both the aptitude and attitude to bounce back in life will help you both personally and professionally. By no means is resiliency the end all be all of skills but it is one that can be learned and developed over time.

The Floor Is Yours: 

How do you cope

during times of uncertainty?