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Resilience, a vital ingredient of leadership
There are a number of attributes that leaders require in their portfolios to steer their teams. Resilience is one such characteristic that is most often under-rated nonetheless is significant to the functioning of leaders. In today’s dynamic work environment, resilience is an attribute that has become increasingly necessary.
As business leaders uncertainty and setbacks arise through various aspects like economic fluctuations, political turmoil, natural calamities, competition, change in stakeholder expectations, and so on. Such uncertainties require leaders who can manage change.
During times of change, necessary actions ought to be taken to handle the change. Flexibility and adaptability go hand in hand with resilience and they enable to manage change effectively. Most often the simple aspect of flexibility like listening to diverse views of team members in a critical situation could be neglected. There also needs to be an openness to accommodate situational leaders who could add tremendous value to the outcome.
A key element distinguishing resilient leaders is identifying the need to ‘bounce back’ from difficult situations. In order, to bounce back a number of key behaviours need to be adopted. One key aspect is to manage one’s emotions amidst disappointments and failure. Emotions are often reflected through one’s behavior in a crunch situation. This is where a leader needs to differentiate himself or herself by demonstrating inspiration and direction for the team. The Indian Cricket Captain Dhoni is often admired for his ability to remain calm and encourage team members during nail-biting finishes. The battle here is won at the emotional level.
A Resilient leader also does not stop at managing emotions alone but bounces back by having a ‘positive attitude’. Believing in the ability of the team to accomplish even when results show otherwise, marks a resilient leader. His belief then could translate into action by the team.
The turnaround at the Ford Motor Company by Alan Mulally illustrates the value of resilience. On becoming the CEO of Ford in 2006, Mullaly faced week after week of challenging news about the business. Ford was on the brink of bankruptcy and its very existence was at risk. During such difficult times, Mulally maintained an upbeat, positive spirit and a can-do attitude that dynamically transformed Ford. Today, Mulally is viewed as the man responsible for one of the most spectacular corporate turnarounds in history.
The outlook of a resilient leader is to view failure as feedback and a milestone in the growth journey. The next day, the next challenge, or the next project is an opportunity. The past ought to stay in the past. Perseverance enables us to see each day as an opportunity and never give up in efforts towards success.
The tool to defeat the challenge of giving up is improvisation. Creativity combined with improvisation has brought about some of the greatest solutions in this world. Improvisation, bouncing back, a positive attitude all spice up the key attribute of leadership that is resilience. Having resilience helps leaders in their journey in building inspiration in teams to continue to work for the goals of the organization.