Resilience… Who needs it?

When Failure Strikes...Photo Courtesy: Wan Chiang Tan

When Failure Strikes…
Photo Courtesy: Wan Chiang Tan

Last weekend, every Rugby and League Football team that I supported lost. I’m sure you will recall similar situations yourself. It didn’t make me feel great, but I managed to avoid slipping into a depression. And then, as I read the match reports and the implications for some of the managers, I recognised that while I may not have felt great, those involved were probably ‘not feeling great’ in spades.

At the same time, I also happened across a short article by Jack Welch. Now, like me, you may not agree with everything he says or does, but combined with the sporting weekend from hell, it reminded me of the importance of resilience in a leader. Good leadership demands many things of people, and resilience is possibly one of the hardest.

Resilience is like confidence – if you’re not confident in yourself, how can you expect others to have confidence in you? Similarly, if you are depressed or upset, how can you expect those around you to be positive about their own tasks and responsibilities? As a leader, we need to make sure that we are not the cause of negativity in others.

So what practical things can you do to build resilience in yourself? There is a myriad of advice in the media, but really, everyone has to find the approach that works for them. However, there are two approaches that do seem to have resonance for many people.

The first is identified by Arianna Huffington founder of the Huffington Post. She advocates trying to recast failures as “stepping stones to success”. Tricky, but in my experience, if you develop the habit of revisiting failures to see what can be learnt, you can begin to see them in a different light.

The second is typified by Bobak Ferdowsi, a Systems Engineer at NASA, whose work goals are clearly massive. He is one of the many that advocate “living for smaller victories” rather than the big mission; a trick you see replicated in sport when teams strive for a compensating goal, try, basket, or whatever, even though they will clearly never win.

Others recommend ensuring you get recovery time, understanding your emotions better, remembering your higher purpose, and so on. The important question for a leader, therefore, is:

What enables you to be more resilient?

Because I don’t want another weekend like the last.

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Image credit: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/photo_8166907_rugby-player-after-losing-the-game.html’>jacephoto / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

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