Our recent change of Prime Ministers really got me thinking about the importance of resilience for leaders.
Clearly, losing your dream job so publicly is something that would not be easy for anyone to deal with, and as a fellow human being I can empathise with our former Prime Minister as he deals with what happens next. However – what I found myself reflecting on after it all played out on my TV screen was the importance of remembering we have choices – we can choose how we respond to what happens to us, good or bad.
That’s where resilience comes in.
Why does resilience matter so much for leaders? I see three areas on which it can have an impact:
- How I work with my bosses, clients and peers: if I deal with someone else in a leadership position, I know they expect me to take problems in my stride most of the time, rather than collapsing when things go wrong. If I don’t, then they may end up questioning my leadership.
- How I manage my team: if I demonstrate resilience at work, my team will feel safer, knowing that things probably aren’t going to fall down around them at a moment’s notice. This can free them to do their best work, and to be less afraid of failing themselves.
- How I live my life: if I can smile and brush it off when things go wrong, if I can leave the failures of the day (come on, we all have them!) behind when I go home at night, I’m happier and better able to cope with the inevitable challenges life throws at me, in and out of work.
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts” – Winston Churchill
By adopting a ‘resilience’ mindset, I’ve found that failure can actually be a good thing – it helps me learn, and encourages me to take risks. So now, when I fail, or when something goes against me, I try to make my first thought “What can I learn from this?” rather than taking my failure too much to heart, or beating myself up. If I can answer that question, I can take what I learn with me, a learning I might not have got any other way.
Here’s to my next failure, and bouncing back from it.
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