Sometimes things go wrong. Even the best strategies can be derailed with unexpected circumstances. In other cases, a single mistake at the critical juncture of a project could derail months of hard work. Developing leadership resilience is essential for overcoming these challenges. By assessing what went wrong and developing a plan for moving forward, resilient leaders can overcome difficult challenges.
Why Resilience is Necessary as a Leader
Even the most successful leaders must occasionally deal with setbacks, failures, and disappointments. When things don’t go according to plan, leaders need to be able to guide their teams through the resulting uncertainty, help everyone get back on track, and find a way to keep working toward their goals. How leaders deal with these situations has a huge impact on team performance. If they blame others for failure, refuse to enforce accountability, or try to avoid addressing obvious problems, it will be almost impossible for a team to move forward in a productive fashion. When leaders understand that failure and setbacks are simply obstacles to be overcome along the path to success, they are able to guide their teams through difficulties far more effectively.
5 Strategies for Developing Leadership Resilience
Feedback is critical to diagnosing performance and decisions, especially when things go wrong. One of the most important steps for building resilience is analyzing mistakes, failures, and other setbacks to identify biased assumptions or flaws in decision-making. While self-reflection is an important process that can provide a variety of insights, gathering feedback from multiple perspectives is essential to expanding the scope of analysis. Analyzing feedback helps leaders to see their behaviors and actions in a different light and can help them see where they need to change their approach when it comes to managing their teams.
Find a Mentor
Leading a team can sometimes be an isolating experience since leaders are exposed to pressures and responsibilities that other team members do not face. Finding a mentor who has gone through the same challenges and can provide guidance for dealing with difficult situations is incredibly valuable for these leaders. Any good resilient leadership program should place a strong emphasis on mentorship and coaching. A mentor can bring a much-needed perspective when it comes to facing adversity or failure. Chances are, the challenges a leader is facing aren’t entirely unique. Simply being able to talk to someone about the obstacles they’re facing can help them view the problem in more manageable terms. In addition to receiving advice for dealing with specific issues, they also get a first-hand look at how a resilient leader behaves in practice.
Take Advantage of Development Opportunities
Growth is an important part of building resilience. In order to overcome challenges and adversity, leaders need to build new skills and gain experience from a variety of situations. By identifying opportunities to learn and develop, leaders can prepare themselves to deal with setbacks when they do occur in the future. Learning how to manage conflict in a relatively low-risk environment, for instance, can put someone in a better position to navigate a difficult situation where greater risk is involved. Leaders can capitalize on growth opportunities by seeking out training and development resources in a resilient leadership program or by taking on new responsibilities that allow them to gain valuable first-hand experience. By building up their skills and expertise on their own terms, they will have more resources to draw upon when forced to face difficult situations that are thrust upon them.
Articulate an Engaging Vision
The most resilient leaders have a clear vision both of themselves and of what they’re trying to accomplish. Without this clear sense of purpose, they can easily become overly task-oriented, tending only to the immediate issues in front of them without thinking about how those tasks fit into a much larger picture. This is important from a resilience standpoint because having a strong vision is vital for overcoming short-term setbacks and failures. Successful leaders are able to articulate this vision in order to motivate their teams effectively and maintain their own sense of clarity and purpose.
Resilient leaders are steady and resolute, but they must also be capable of adapting to changing circumstances. Although resilience is often seen as inflexible determination, a leader who is unwilling to accept that change is inevitable will stubbornly cling to strategies that are clearly ineffective. Even well-conceived strategies will often need to be adjusted or sometimes radically altered based on changing market demands or technology trends. By striving to embrace the principles of agile leadership and resilient leadership theory, leaders can improve their ability to overcome setbacks to connect with their teams, adapt to new realities, and deliver sustainable results for their business.
When challenges threaten to derail a team’s mission, resilient leaders are able to manage difficulties and learn from mistakes to make their team more effective and successful. Organizations can help their leaders build resilience by emphasizing the importance of flexibility. By building leaders who possess the tools necessary to learn from mistakes and focus on what matters most when things go wrong, companies can promote a culture that emphasizes agility and resilience in the face of disruptive change.