Resilience is something that is studied GREATLY in psychology, specifically with some of the saddest cases of children neglect and abuse. Read about the "wild child", Helen Keller, and Genie.
I turn to the dictionary (google) for two great definitions:
1. The ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape; elasticity
2. The capacity to recovery quickly from difficulties;toughness.
When it comes to business the ability to "spring back" into shape is a difficult idea to comprehend, because the question is what shape should the leader be in? However, it is important to show elasticity.
One day the leader must be an entrepreneur pushing the envelope, one day they must be a technician working on the product, one day they must be a manager- supervising and delineating responsibility. Michael Gerber lectures that on the toughest of days, they have to be all three. But the important thing is that the leader has the ability to be all three or ask for help in the other categories.
The capacity to recover quickly from difficulties is also an interesting idea to apply to business leaders. Quickly is a relative term. Some leaders are obsessive over every little detail, others are more laizzes faire.
I have to reference Machiavelli/Tupac as well as other philosophers. Some leaders like to be loved, some leaders like to be feared. A real leader should find a balance between the two. You don't want your employees to fear you, you want your employees to respect you and trust you.
The important aspect is that leaders are resilient and tough. They know how to separate business and pleasure. They know when to be serious, they know when to be light-hearted.
Great question, looking forward to more responses...
It's a little bit of a challenge to respond here, because I'm afraid it might get a little complicated trying to describe my leadership model in such a forum, however, I'm going to attempt to narrow it down.
For a leader to be effective, they need to master these characteristics to be able to respond appropriately top the continuous changes that are occurring over and over again in today's rapidly changing business environment.
I have developed a leadership resiliency model that I call the Resiliency Hourglass the illustrate the Ten Critical Characteristics of Self-Empowerment for Leadership. It is a trans formative leadership model that can apply to anyone.
I chose an hourglass as the representative of the model for several reasons: 1.An hourglass can only do its job as a result of constant change because; 2.The sand inside is always being shaken up, as the hourglass itself has to be turned upside down in order for it to function.
Each part of the model represents a particular characteristic and the associated behaviors or needed skills related to it. The two parts of the inner hourglass consist of a vessel that is held together by an outer frame. Without this frame, the hourglass would not function because the glass would not stand upright and would fall apart.
The hourglass is held together by four columns, or "pillars." Four columns, which act as the “pillars” for leadership, connect the top portion to the bottom portion of the hourglass. These pillars represent the first four characteristics which are: 1. Character, 2. Values, 3. Continuous Skill Building, and 4, Managing Change.
The next six characteristics are represented by the "sand" within the hourglass as it "flows from the top portion of the vessel 5) Responsibility, 6) Goals, 7) Priorities, down into the bottom portion of the vessel where it "transforms to 8) Teamwork, 9) Empathy, 10) Collaborate.
These characteristics operate interdependently and a for a leader to develop resiliency they must be mastered.
I've adapted this model and written a book entitled Power vs Perception: Ten Characteristics of Self-Empowerment for Women that is focused on the issues that women experience, however, it applies to everyone.
An excellent question Paul!
As well as all the above, resilience is the ability to remain focused on the goal and not take NO for an answer. It is the ability to continue and persist come what may. It is the abiity to get up again when one has been knocked down. It is the kid who, when kicked over by the bully, gets straight back up again and continues anyway.
It is a demonstratin of survival. All great leaders have demonstrated resiliance. One of the best ways of seeing examples of resilience is by reading autobiographies of people who have overcome great odds to be a success at what they do.
But what MAKES a leader resilient? Is it their own perserverence in pursuing their goal? Their own determination to achieve that goal no matter how many times they are thwarted or just plain stopped.? I would say yes.
Some great research on Resilience was done by Steven M. Southwick, MD and Dennis S. Charney, MD. and compiled in their book called Resilience. They compiled their work through years of interviewing and working with people who had proven resilience, from Vietnam Vets who were held for years and suffered unspeakable things for years, to women who suffered torture and managed to still create success and run successful businesses.
They indicated 10 factors that are needed: Realistic optimism, facing fear, moral compass, religion and spirituality, social support, resilient role models, physical fitness brain fitness, cognitive and emotional flexibility, and meaning and purpose. NOTE that among these 10 factors that are needed at least three require the support of others to achieve... so a great leader also needs a great network as they cannot make it on their own! Also note that two of them - physical fitness and brain fitness, requires that the leader has enough balance in their world that they are keeping their own body physically healthy!
I guess there are several contexts for resilience. One could be making the best decision in difficult circumstances. "Good to Great" by Jim Collins is research-based and has discussions on what could be considered resilience in several areas.
Resilience to me is the ability to bounce back after setbacks. Setbacks are unmet expectations. In this sense, if a leader were perceptive and objective in his assessments, he would have more realistic expectations, and setbacks would not be catastrophic. If he were wise, he would also always have a "Plan B" that would be ready.
This in turn relates to a leader's definition of a good leader. Some may experience a setback and say "Oh well..better luck net time". Another will say that failure is not an option and plan carefully, form alliances, and pretty much predetermine the outcome, much as a chess master does, through his planning, and relationship building.
Other aspects of resilience come from experience and character. Ever notice the senior manager who is unflappable? He's seen it all and is mentally prepared for surprise endings, and because of his experience, has the answers or the Plan B at hand. Been there, done that. Character relates to the ability to bounce back in the right way. Accepting rather than passing out blame, taking control rather than running away, confidence born of consistent integrity, which commands trust and respect, and keeps things on the path to the solution and what's best for the company, building a loyal response team rather than the "everybody for himself" response.
Study Washington's life, Ghandi, Lincoln, these men were imperfect but had immense character. As applies to leadership, it is the ability to subordinate your needs to that of the country, principle, or company or some other, or the greater good. This consciousness of the greater good lead to monumental contribution, and keep one on the path in spite of personal setbacks, because they are secondary. The self-centered would fold when their needs are not met, and don't have resilience. Character is like a set of crayons. Resilience is just one of the colors in the set. It comes with the set, and is not something that you'd normally go shopping for in itself.
Hi Paul, Thanks for asking this instructive question !
I strongly believe resilience is vital to leadership success.
Indeed, we are living and working in a such fast changing environment that if we do not have the ability to bounce back, cope, renew, and revitalize, we might become a "leader from the past" and do not bring our organization where we want to go.
So what could be the characteristic of a resilient leader ?
Firstly, resilient leaders need to emphasize on personal development in taking advantage in good coaching.
Secondly, select the right words to create a positive emotional climate in which hope prevails and individuals feel inspired to create a better future. Thirdly, resilient leaders are optimistic (but not naive) in order to transform ideas into reality !
Fourthly, resilient leaders take some times to nurture network of support in their organization in case some unforeseen events happen.
And finally, resilient leaders draw on diverse perspectives to make well-informed decisions that ultimately create new realities in organizations.
Hope it can help and I am looking forward to more responses ...
Thank you for bringing up this rich topic! Resilience is a key concept for all times and especially for ours. Change is happening all the time and we face great challenges. I am happy to give some thoughts about resilient leadership.
1) A resilient leader is able to deal with change, even embrace it and at the same time accept what is not in his power to change. The successes and positive experiences of the past are discussed, analysed and used to build the better future. resilient leadership brings peace and focus amidst the turbulence and fosters the confidence of people to stay calm, future oriented and as appreciative as possible in order to bring out the best in themselves and others.
2) Resilient leaders focus on the best possible future, the 'preferred possible'. They invite people to stop the problem focus, the 'problem talk', and think about the possibilities instead. In any crisis, there are opportunities for those who want to see them.
3) Resilient leaders are aware of all the resources and strengths in themselves, their organisation or teams and make the best of it. they create the conditions and atmoshpere that is nurturing for people. They install conversations that are hopeful, empowering and uplifting. They spend time to listen to the worries and wishes of others and encourage sound and open interconnection between people.
4) Resilient leaders move forward in small steps. They recognize progress, however small, and are aware of the importance of it. As long as there is progress, there is hope, "every journey of 1000 miles starts with a first step".
We wrote a very practical bookl called 'Resilient people, resilient teams'. It is based on the solution focused approach. http://ilfaro.be/nl/resilient-people-resilient-teams
Hello Paul, a very interesting question -and I see by the broad range of answers that people interpret 'resilience' in different ways based on their own leadership experience and opinion. So I would like to provoke some thought with a few comments on what I believe resilience in leadership is NOT:
Resilience is NOT a result of experience:
I know what you are thinking... you must have experience to be a good leader. Well, I know some poor leaders with a great deal of experience... The difference is what you do with that experience. Any leader must expect both success and failure along the path to their goals but a resilient one will constantly 'reshape' themself and the path of the program to maximize the chance of success. A non-resilient leader travels in a straight line to the goal, no matter what the experience is along the way.
Resilience is NOT the ability to carry on in the midst of great adversity:
Winston Churchill is quoted as saying “Never give in–never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.” Most people would agree that Churchill was a great leader, but was he a resilient leader? I would argue that Churchill was not resilient, rather he was charismatic and unyielding. These traits were vital during WWII, however, postwar it was evident that the country needed a more resilient leader to rebuild. Which brings me to my final point
Resilience is NOT necessarily the mark of a 'good' leader:
When it comes to resilience, I think there is some confusion between ‘leadership’ and ‘management’. An effective manager maximizes the potential of their resources, eliminates roadblocks, challenges their employees, and takes on varying responsibilities to keep the program moving in the right direction. A good manager must be resilient. A good leader sets the direction of the program, establishes vision, then unwaveringly pulls the team along to meet the final objectives.
Often times 'leaders' must manage and 'managers' must lead but I would ague that they are two different hats, a resilient management hat and a ridged leadership hat. A person's effectiveness in wearing these two different hats to meet a specific goal often characterizes how that person is thought of as a 'leader’.
I hope this provides additional thoughts and provokes further response on an interesting subject.
Being able to work through tough situations with confidence.
I believe that having the ability to work through issues without losing focus on your beliefs. I recently assisted a business to change its culture. They were in a stale mate and needed help making the next move. Their view of what leadership was reverting to the old way of doing things which was hindering growth. In leadership meetings people were shocked at the decisions I made because they were too aggressive or uncomfartable for some. Being disliked by peers and some others above me was new to me however I had to stay focused on the outcome. Some days were very tough but I never lost sight of what was needed also never let anyone either. in short time I proved my method worked and this helped change the paradigm of a company and the leaders.
Put the uncommon effort into the common task... Make it large by doing it in a great way. Orison Marden
I'd say from all my research and personal experience of working with world class leaders, leadership comes down to a number of factors.
+ Strong personal identity.
+ A crystal clear vision.
+ A deep sense of hunger and passion for their vision.
+ The humility to know that its NOT about them, its about the people that they lead and serve and the cause they are working towards.
+ A strong network of accountability, coaches, mentors.
+ The ability to delegate and not take on too much.
+ Ability to rest and recharge their batteries.
+ Health and fitness ( healthy body + healthy mind = High performance.
This is just a quick list off the top of my head and in no particular order. Hope this helps and if you'd like to ask me anything else would like my opinion on issue which you do not wish to share here, pls send me a personal message!
Hmmm. I think if by resilient, you mean powering through the tough times, coming back and being a stronger leader - facing the nay-sayers when you see a vision that isn't accepted yet - then I think I've come back time and time again because of great mentors and supporters who believe in me. Its that simple. Sometimes it takes longer if my self-esteem has taken a beating; sometimes it doesn't take too long to come back. But leading is about serving and keeping that in mind, keeps the perspective where it needs to be during the tough times.
Resiliency is a muscle that's developed through use. Leaders become resilient by having to work through difficult situations. Resilient leaders have an inspiring vision that keeps them motivated in the midst of strife. They are also critical thinkers and innovative problem-solvers. They are able to see possibilities where others only see obstacles. They believe that their efforts will impact the outcome.
According to me a Leader can be resilient when he doesn't sees himself as a hero figure within the working environment. Earlier days the norms of Heroic Leadership was in culture of most workplaces because of which the leadership normally use to shun the views of other employees in the firm which resulted in a lesser resilient characteristics in the leader.
Since the arrival of Distributed leadership the whole perspective changed. People may argue that heroic leadership is the best way to manage the work force but at the same time it brings ego in the picture, thus making the environment and leadership too very stringent.
With the dawn of Distributed leader the whole style became more flexibility and thus flexibility brought resilience in Leadership. But the Distributed Leadership has its own demerits because of which the Blended leadership came in the picture. This Blended form of leadership took the traits of Distributed and Heroic type of leadership.
I suggest you to have a look at these three forms of Leadership(Distributed, Heroic and Blended) and creating a connection between can be a way forward.
I hope this helps. Good Luck!!
Resilence in leadership is a product of experience. Professional maturity comes not with age, but experience and the ability to weather storms, critically assess and strategize, regroup and refocus energy. This ability is usually found in tenacious individuals who tend to thrive under pressure and those who are well prepared for and enjoy challenge.
Resilience in leadership is all about being able to shift, move, address problems, and change direction at any given moment. Leadership must be capable of addressing issues in a diplomatic way that is honest, forthright yet capable of staying ahead of the competition with innovation, which is accomplished by thinking in another way. Leaders must look upon problems not as challenges but as opportunities for change that increase the company's dynamics.
I love the movie series Rocky but the last one there is a great scene where Rocky is talking to his son.
“The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you’re hit. It’s about how hard you can get it and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!”
I am sure he was talking to himself too in trying to recover from Rocky 5.
The famed football coach Vince Lombardi said the same thing, “It doesn’t matter how many times you get knocked down but how many times you get.”
Read more at: http://artofthinkingsmart.com/top-skill-need-achieve-goals/ | The Art Of Thinking Smart
They key thing is to never give up and take threats as challenges, and failures as stepping stones to success. Resiliency is a mindset, not what you go through, but how you respond!
I think having the humility to listen to those around you. Having the inner compass to know what is right and wrong, and giving yourself permission to fail. Failing is learning and committing to never making the same mistake twice. We are all human, but need to take accountability for our choices. So many people these days blame all their situations on others...its all about our choices. And we learn from everything.
The term resilience has been applied to people who handle stress well. Resilient people are generally more flexible, able to bounce back from setbacks, are grateful for life’s simple pleasures and have a strong faith that “everything happens for a reason”. There are three elements that are essential to make a leader resilient:
CHALLENGE – Resilient people view a difficulty/ complexity as a challenge, not as a paralyzing event. They look at their failures/ mistakes as lessons to be learned from, and as chance for growth. They don't consider them as an non-constructive indication on their abilities or self-worth and have ability to master stress.
COMMITMENT – Resilient people are dedicated to their lives and their goals, and they have a convincing reason to get out of bed in the morning. Commitment isn't just limited to their work – they energize body, engage emotion and commit to their personal, professional relationships and their religious or spiritual beliefs.
SELF-CONTROL – Resilient people spend their time in training their mind and utilize the energy to put their spirit in action, focusing on situations and events that they have control over. Since they put their character where they can have the most impact, they feel empowered and self-assured.
Resilience is a skill which can be learned by anybody. By sincerely practicing the art to face challenges, Commitment and Self Control, we can do a lot to develop your own powers of resilience.
Interesting topic of conversation. Having worked with one of the most resilient leaders I have ever seen (Doug Perkins), to me resilience in leadership is about belief. Believing that your are on the right path to achieve your goals, believing in the people you have in your team and acknowledging their skills & abilities whilst also building the belief in their own attributes, believing in yourself to be able to overcome any challenges that are thrown your way. A clear vision towards what you are attempting to achieve and continuing on this path despite what others are saying why it can not be achieved.
Hope this helps!
In my view a leader must be able to a carry the team in face of daunting situations that any business will present. Leader has to be focused on the goal keeping the broader picture and remain resolute in executing to a plan, making necessary adaptations along the way. The leader must therefore develop a high sense of objectivity ......accepting what is reality and cannot be changed, identifying what is controllable perhaps even expanding on circle of influence and meticulously executing to take advantage of every opportunity and resources that can be mobilized. It is only then that a leader can be considered as having resilience, a trait absolutely critical in our current business environment which is far more impacted by environment, regulation and disruption, than in the past.