I’m super proud of many of my clients who have rallied and responded to their own business challenges with fantastic resilience and wisdom. It seems like a good time to share some of their secrets and talk about what the most resilient leaders do to not only get through, but to also thrive through challenge – and take their people with them. Because lord knows, when the pressure is on it can be all you can handle to just get yourself through a challenging day, let alone lift others up to see a positive and constructive way forward.
Here are some key themes I’m seeing in our resilient leaders:
They’re focusing on what’s going well and the wins that are occurring – every week
Let’s face it, in these conditions there will be many Chicken Little’s running around screeching The Sky Is Falling! A resilient leader doesn’t do this, duh…. but more importantly, they’re not just ‘thinking positively’. They’re good at tracking what progress is being made, what’s gone well and what wins they’ve had. In recent months those have been things like retaining some client contracts that could easily have gone west in the circumstances, having gracious landlords who have made renegotiating their lease a breeze and winning new business – yes this is happening. Note it. Track it. It’s a foundation to build from.
They’re managing their state fiercely and using their tools to keep their stress levels down. They’re not letting their body stay in stress for any length of time.
In the case of my clients, I’ve noticed that those who have been really focused on shifting their stress response and getting their stress down in recent months or years have been the most resilient through this time. They’re also using the tools at their disposal as they go along, whether it’s using some tapping, breaths or other techniques they have to call on (some of which are included in my free Start Me Up Toolkit if you’d like an intro, or catch my free online class on Settling Your Nervous System).
They control what they can control
I think we all know that being clear around what we have direct control over, what we can influence and what we can’t, is pivotal to staying sane at work (and in life for that matter). When the sh*t hits the proverbial fan, keeping clarity around this a must. Those leaders who stay focused on what they CAN control and influence will always get more done and move things forward.
Whilst we’re going to want to keep one ear to the ground, wasting energy on worrying about what the economy is going to do this week scatters our energy and acts as more of a distraction than anything. We’re best to contingency plan for what we might need to respond to, put things in place accordingly and then move forward with the best actions we can take from one day to the next.
The leaders who are doing well are focusing on what’s right in front of them and how they can best set up their business and their people to do well.
Resilient leaders know when to decide and when to wait
When you have something circling in your mind that’s feeling like an unfinished loop, such as what to do about your lease agreements or staffing, pause the whole process long enough to check – do I have enough information right now to decide? If so, it’s a weighing up process. But if you don’t, write down what you don’t know yet and what questions you still have. Ascertain whether those questions can be answered now or not.
Resilient leaders are discerning about whether it’s a decision for now or later. That can be hard when you have staff members feeling anxious about their roles and incomes and what the future holds. You might feel the pressure tot make some quick decisions in order to relieve people of the uncertainty. Resilient leaders are staying the course and making decisions once they have all the information they need, and then going with what feels right for them and the future of the whole business.
They keep sharing the vision and focusing forwards. They’re not hanging out in the problem for any length of time.
We’ve all been through times when we’re staring at the overdraft or gulping about overheads or wondering how the heck everything is going to get done with fewer people or less time – we can easily get buried in the problem and spiral into it.
Right now more than ever is the time to be lifting up out of the worry, challenge and straight out conundrums of cashflow or resourcing and looking ahead to a new vision. Those leaders I see doing this well are then able to see the way ahead clearly and make decisions now that align with that vision. They’re then able to share that vision or end goal with their senior staff or partners in order to design a path forward, and then share it with their teams.
They’re not compromising their wellbeing – they practice self-care
Those leaders coping the best right now are the ones who are still exercising regularly, getting to bed at the same time most nights, drinking plenty of water, eating well and getting out in nature – hikes, wind-surfing, running, you name it. They know if they don’t support their physical body they won’t say mentally and emotionally resilient.
They trust themselves and others and let themselves be vulnerable
I’m seeing leaders discover that:
- You can count on your instincts, your years of experience and your resilience to get through and rise out of the challenge.
- You will be called on to grow in all areas.
- You won’t have to figure it all out on your own.
- You will probably have to lead the way – but you can learn as you go.
- People have your back in ways you never even imagined.
- The tough decisions will strengthen you, your business and those around you.
As cliqued as it might be, we do grow through adversity and whilst the journey may not always be pleasant, I really believe we have the opportunity to lift ourselves to new paradigms if we embrace the ride and let ourselves climb. And that climb isn’t always through grand gestures and heroic actions, but through small daily choices and acts that have us leading wisely, mindfully and sustainably.
If you’re a leader wanting to make a wholesale turnaround with your stress levels, balance and resilience, or are ready for your next level of leadership, check out my new coaching programme, The Resilient Leader. And you’re always welcome to reach out to me for a free phone consult to explore what your best next step might be.