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It’s Time to be a Resilient Leader

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Author - Jerry Olson - July 2020

Times of chaos and crisis are troubling. Currently, our economy, public health, government, politics and just about every aspect of our lives is unsettled and uncertain. For those of us who, in the past decade, have grown used to a predictable future, this is a difficult time. Whether your business is flourishing unexpectedly or struggling for survival, today is a time of change and upheaval. It is a time for leaders to be resilient or simply have the ability to withstand and recover quickly from difficult conditions. However, that can be easier said than done. How can you become a more resilient leader?

1. Improve how well you know yourself.

Where are your blind spots? What are your strengths and weaknesses? Where do you get help to cover your blind spots and fill the gaps of your weaknesses? Where is your style helping you and where is it limiting you?

There is a plethora of self-assessments readily available that can help you know yourself better. You likely have taken some of them. Now is a good time to revisit those assessment reports and perhaps retake the assessment or find a new one. Doing this with your teams can be a great exercise in improving your whole team’s resiliency as well.

This is also a good time to ask for feedback from others to improve your knowledge of yourself. Check in with your team and get their input. Talk with friends who know you well and ask where your strengths are helping you and where your weaknesses are limiting you.

2. Practice realistic optimism.

It may be hard to be optimistic especially if your business was shut down or if you or loved ones are suffering. Now is definitely not the time for fake and unrealistic optimism. Facts matter. And the truth of your situation might be dire. However, it is less likely that the situation will turn positive without a strong leader first imagining a positive outcome. Be realistic about the current situation while envisioning a positive outcome.

3. Adapt more quickly.

While that positive outcome is still a thought, start acting more quickly. Adjusting course quickly in a crisis is key to survival. Right now, the more quickly you act, the less likely that outside forces will determine your future. One of the best leadership traits in a time of crisis is decisive action.

4. Lean on your team.

Significant success, especially in a crisis, is never achieved as a solo operation. Rather, it is the result of a great team all striving toward the same goals. Resilient leaders can confidently depend on the people in their team when they are aligned with a shared vision and actively bringing shared values to life through well-defined behaviors. Lean on your team for coordinated actions while clarifying the goals and your shared values.

5. Be confident without an unhealthy ego.

Your team needs a leader who is confident in pointing the way and courageous in decisive action. They are looking to you to the share the work to be done, the credit when things go well and the blame when things go badly.

You might feel like you don’t have time to work on becoming more resilient. Remember, it is always the right time to do important work even especially when it doesn’t feel urgent. Now more than ever is the best time to work on your resiliency.

Author, Jerry Olson, is a Business Advisor with The Resultants. To learn more about Jerry, visit our Team Page or connect with him on Linkedin.

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