Resilience is key to success for leaders. Resilience is a source of energy to move forward and make an impact. Five strategies can develop your resilience.
Several years ago, the company for which I was providing career consulting was purchased by another company. The merger resulted in an unusual circumstance for me—coaching fifteen leaders in the same organization as they transitioned to a different culture and new systems. I observed over the next twelve months that the resilient leaders were able to acknowledge the uncertainty and stress, then continue to develop their careers in the direction they wanted. Other individuals, lacking resilience, focused on the doom and gloom of the merger, which became a barrier to finding new roles, whether inside or outside the company.
I identified five common strategies that these resilient people possessed as part of their career toolbox. I was amazed at how these strategies eased my own business transition. Within one month of leaving the organization where I had spent fifteen years, I had a major new training client and fifteen new leadership-coaching clients.
I continue to focus on the five strategies with my leadership-coaching clients: well-being, self-awareness, brand, connection, and innovation.
Well-being is about exercise, nutrition, sleep, dealing with stressors, making opportunities for fun, and relaxation—all those factors that can be a wellspring of energy if paid attention to.
Self-awareness includes knowing your purpose so you can align your career with it, developing and maintaining a growth mindset, and learning your own personality type so you can deal effectively with others.
Despite years of exposure to branding via my marketing clients, I was surprised at how much positive feedback I got from clients when I added personal branding to my coaching services. I’ve heard from clients that knowing their brand has given them the confidence to be more proactive and visible in their careers. Now I work with my clients to define not just the attributes that describe them, but the impact they have made in their positions. I tell them that attributes and impact form reputation, which I define as the perception others have of them. In our volatile and uncertain business environments, I want them to be sure their reputation is career-enhancing, not career-limiting.
Connection is our support system. I don’t use the word ‘networking’ because this is not about gathering as many business cards and LinkedIn connections as possible. Instead, connection is creating and nourishing trusting relationships. An exercise I use to help clients identify and grow relationships is ‘Who’s in your boat?’ In this exercise, you write down the names of people in four key groups: Allies, Influencers, Champions, and Adviser.
Allies are personal and professional associates that you know or would like to know better. Influencers are people who inspire you. Champions believe in you and are willing to speak on your behalf. People in the Adviser group are those for whom you are making a difference, perhaps as a mentor. Writing down these names is the first step in creating a connection plan that will help you be proactive in maintaining these relationships.
When people hear the word ‘innovation’, they tend to think in terms of innovative companies, but it applies to individuals too and I believe is key to resilience. Professional and personal innovation keeps us growing, flexible, and thinking creatively, all of which are essential to surviving and thriving in today’s environment. Ways to introduce innovation into your life include taking a class, volunteering for a cause or organization in which you believe, or trying a new hobby.
One way to spark innovation is to seek out new experiences, in other words, have an adventure. Adventure (an exciting or remarkable experience) comes in many forms. For some, it’s associated with traveling, whether it’s to an urban environment of museums, performances, and restaurants, or to a natural environment to observe wildlife or participate in outdoor sports. But adventure doesn’t have to involve trips to far away or exotic locations; it can be as simple as trying a different cuisine, hiking a new trail in a local park, or taking a day trip to a place you’ve always wanted to visit. What all these have in common is that they get you out of your comfort zone, which in turn helps you keep an open mind and increases your confidence in your ability to deal with challenges.
Resilient leaders possess self-awareness, are able to recharge themselves and manage stress, and can continue to operate effectively through change and turmoil. More over, they can model resilience for their employees, resulting in engaged and productive employees. Resilience is not a suite of armor, but it is a source of energy to move forward and make an impact, so try one of these strategies to boost your resilience.
Beth Kennedy, MS, LMFT, brings more than twenty years of experience to her role as a leadership and executive coach, resiliency-training expert, and speaker. She is the author of Career ReCharge: Five Strategies to Boost Resilience and Beat Burnout (CLICK HERE to get your copy). For more about Beth Kennedy, please visit her website at: www.bethkennedy.com.
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