Effective leadership starts with resilience

What is ‘Resilience’? According to the 4th annual Inspire conference it is 1 of the 10 superpowers you need to be an effective leader.

Inspire LIVE aimed to provide an answer via an eclectic panel of business professionals who provided their personal reflections and experiences on the subject – and whilst there were some differences in semantics i.e. do we really mean resilience or resourcefulness, vulnerability or courage, the overarching premise was the same… Be the master of your own destiny!

Now - if you’re wondering how you can start to master your own resilience, here are 6 pieces of advice we took from this year’s Inspire LIVE.

1) Live life ‘on purpose’

Those that are most able to demonstrate resilience, see the value in failure and personally connect it to what they are trying to achieve. Call it courage, call it purpose… no matter what you are doing, ensure that you have a set vision for it and make it personal. Live life ‘on purpose’.

Purpose gives you meaning to what you do, it gives you the opportunity to challenge yourself and understand what is important to you, whilst values anchor how you want to interact with others.

Being clear on your personal purpose and values is key to the concept of building relationships.

2) Stop worrying

Most of us worry on a daily basis - we worry about the inane i.e. what are we going to eat for dinner tonight? Or about the seemingly critical i.e. will I achieve my target numbers for the month? Neither of these helps us and we all need to find ways in which to let go of negative thoughts that can ultimately turn stress into distress.

As Cate Murden, Founder at PUSH Mind and Body, so articulately put it – “you’ll never lay on your death bed wishing you worried more.” If you know that you have done everything you can to achieve your task, don’t worry… don’t give your thoughts any more power than they deserve.

3) It’s about positive relationships

No matter what walk of life we are in, there will be people around us who radiate energy, who help us to feel more positive, more inspired, more courageous. Equally, there will be some who just ‘take’. Who drain us of our physical, emotional and mental energy. Good relationships are key to being resilient, but the best relationships are those built on mutual values and an aligned purpose – a common belief.

4) Be you!

What most people want to see is the last thing we ever show them. Often because we mistakenly perceive this as being vulnerable. Or, it could be because we simply aren’t aware of some of the strengths that we possess. According to Mark Brayton, Director of Marketing & Customer Engagement at Barclays, “authenticity is the key to positively influencing others, but, to be authentic, you’ve got to understand yourself; be self-aware”. Coming to work as yourself will enable people to see you as a real person and help you build those critically positive relationships.

It can be so easy to conform, to blend in… don’t! Why not try these two things to help avoid hiding in the melee:

1) Identify what it is you are good at. The Johari window can be a useful tool to help build your self-awareness.

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2) Think about what it is that makes you happy and focus on it. Don’t spend all of your time making everyone else happy. Carefully balance the two.

5) Energise…

We regularly recharge our phones… but when do we really consider how much time we spend ‘re-charging’ ourselves? One of the biggest challenges of today is pace. We live in an ‘always on’ society – and we all at some point or other, find ourselves running on empty!

Multiple models of wellness exist, and whilst some might have 6 dimensions, some 8, some 12, they all show a correlation between factors of intelligence, emotion, physicality and occupation. Unfortunately, we don’t live in such a balanced way – we underplay the importance of the emotional and physical dimensions – the critical areas that help us to re-charge. How often do we forgo exercise because we just don’t have time? But how many of us are aware of how positive the after effects of exercise can be? We all need to stop doing so much and take control of our own energy and happiness – not put it in the hands of others.

6) Do less to learn more

Who strives for perfection? How many of us believe that we can multi-task and how many of us know that the human attention span is less than that of a Goldfish?

The average working week is now 43.6 hours and rising. The use of smart phones means we can contact and be contacted at all times – so when do we actually find the time to focus? Much to the frustration of Cate Murden and women everywhere, we can’t multi-task. What we do, is more tasks less well. So, she asked, why don’t we turn this around? Do less tasks better, turn off our phones and find ways to “uni-task”. And whilst we are doing less, why not allow ourselves to trial more… remembering to not always expect perfection. As Thomas Edison said, “I’ve not failed 1,000 times, I’ve taken 1,000 steps”. We can’t be innovative if we are right every time.

So, call it resilience, resourcefulness, courage or vulnerability – what we have to do is take charge. Understand ourselves and then find the time to actually BE ourselves and, if it helps, remember that when nothing is certain, anything is possible.


BRAND LEARNING: Inspiring people. Lifting capabilities. Growing organisations.

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