4 Actionable Tips to Improve ResilienceMar 16, 2023
My Definition for Resilience
Resilience: the ability to bounce back from failure and adversity while remaining positive and motivated. This is the definition I like most. Let’s break it down.
First of all, the definition states resilience is an ability. This is important. Just like any other ability, resilience can be trained and made stronger. You can, and will, become more OR less resilient based on the actions you take each day.
Next, resilience involves bouncing back from failure and adversity. I like emphasizing ‘bounce back’, as opposed to ‘withstand’ (which many definitions have). Resilience does not merely indicate resistance, but actually returning tougher than before. With each trial, your ‘bounce backs’ will become stronger and stronger.
And I like including failure and adversity because truthfully, resilience is an everyday affair. While failure and adversity can be the same thing, they do not have to be. Adversity itself surfaces all the time — in tight deadlines, long meetings, uncomfortable conversations with co-workers, and so many other instances. The good news about this? There are opportunities to sharpen your resilience every day.
And the final part of my definition centers around maintaining your positivity and motivation. These two factors are important because they are the foundation of your growth experience. If you lose either of them, you will likely start to find yourself standing still. It is all too easy to give up on your motivation when you face adversity — persevering through these trials while keeping a positive attitude will be a key factor in taking you from ‘committed when it's convenient’ to ‘I will find a way no matter what’. This is where you jump levels.
Okay, now that we have a strong definition for resilience and we understand what it can do for us…how exactly should we go about improving it?
4 Actionable Tips to Improve Resilience
#1) Learn how to appropriately express frustration
Resilient leaders know how to effectively express their frustration.
Even if you rarely lose your cool, you have likely experienced a moment where you felt overwhelmed and frustrated by your job, coworkers, or assignment. It's important to know how to deal with that feeling, since it can eat away at your self-confidence and make it harder for you to be effective as a leader.
The first step is recognizing that frustration is normal—even healthy—and does not always mean something is wrong with the situation, or with your skills as a leader. It's just one of those things that naturally happens when you’re trying to get something done.
To make sure your frustration does not get the best of you – take some time to figure out what exactly is making you feel stressed out and frustrated. Is there something specific in your environment that could be causing problems? If so, try changing whatever it is that might be triggering those feelings (or talk about it with someone who can help).
Finally, when you do need to express frustration during a meeting or conversation with someone else on your team, try using active listening techniques. Things like paraphrasing what they have said back to them and asking questions about their ideas will show that you are really listening to what they have to say, and that you care about their ideas. And if you cannot express your frustration in a nice way — it just means you need a break from whatever is stressing you out! Losing your cool will only come across as unempathetic and insensitive.
#2) Learn from Failure
Resilient leaders are not afraid of failure; in fact, they embrace it as a means to build their skills and knowledge. They understand that failure is an opportunity for growth and improvement, and they don't let the fear of failure hold them back from trying new things. Nobody likes to fail, but the strongest leaders find silver linings and opportunities for growth within them.
The next time you fail at something, try these strategies to ensure you grow from it:
- Take a moment by yourself, or with your team, to reflect on your mistakes.
- Ask yourself what went wrong and what could have been done differently.
- Make an action plan to ensure this same problem does not happen again.
Remember that mistakes are an important part of any process, but dwelling on them only deters you from moving forward. The most important thing to do is to move on. Take the lessons you learned from the situation and use them to improve yourself, your performance, and your relationships.
"It's best to admit your mistakes quickly and get on with improving." Steve Jobs
#3) Accept criticism without taking it personally.
As a leader, you have to be able to accept criticism without taking it personally.
It's not easy. We all want to feel like we've done our best, and when someone tells us that we haven't, it can be hard not to take it as a personal attack.
It's important to recognize that criticism is not an indictment on your character, but rather an opportunity for improvement. If someone offers you feedback, don't get defensive or angry—instead, try responding with something along the lines of "Thank you for sharing this with me. I appreciate your candor." You might even consider asking for more information about what the person thinks so that you can tailor your response specifically to them (as opposed to providing generic answers).
This may feel uncomfortable at first, but once you start accepting criticism with grace and gratitude, instead of defensiveness and anger, it will become easier. And once people see how open and receptive you are to feedback from others within your organization (and even outside), they will feel more comfortable sharing their honest opinions. This makes for a productive, healthy team.
#4) Adopt a Growth-Mindset
Resilient leaders know that they must be constantly evolving and learning from their mistakes.
They are willing to look at themselves, their skills, and their knowledge honestly, so that they can grow as individuals and as leaders.
While it's easy to just keep doing what you're doing and hope for the best, you need to be able to look at yourself as objectively as possible. Resilient leaders are constantly learning from others and themselves in order to make sure they are growing in all areas of life — especially in leadership.
As Tony Robbins says "If you're not growing, you're dying."
To adopt a growth mindset, you have to be willing to take on challenges outside your comfort zone. You have to accept that you likely will fail, but you are doing it so that you can grow. This stretches far beyond your workplace goals, too. Adopting a growth mindset means working on other skills that will be beneficial no matter what path you decide upon.
- Learn how to speak in front of an audience.
- Increase your knowledge about business matters.
- Improve your interpersonal skills and confidence.
When you are prepared and ready for any circumstance, you will feel more confident about yourself and whatever comes your way. This is what the growth mindset is all about.
The importance of resilience in leadership cannot be overstated. Resilience is one of the most important qualities you can have as a leader — and it can help you overcome any obstacle or challenge that comes your way.
Remember: 1) express frustration appropriately, 2) learn from failure, 3) accept criticism, and 4) adopt a growth mindset. If you want to become a better, more resilient leader in your environment, start by mastering these four things. Bouncing back from adversity and failure will ensure that you can continue moving forward on your path to success. It will solidify your transition from ‘committed when it’s convenient’ to ‘I will find a way no matter what’.
Thank you for reading, and I will see you all next week!
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