The Value of Being a Resilient Leader

A leader’s success often is reflected in his or her resiliency, the ability to persevere—remaining focused and moving forward with his or her responsibilities and goals in spite of obstacles and challenges.

It’s likely you’ve heard it said that the best way to judge the performance of a company’s customer service is how it handles problems. The same thing can be said for leaders; their success often is reflected in their resiliency, the ability to persevere—remaining focused and moving forward with their responsibilities and goals in spite of obstacles and challenges.

Leaders certainly are not expected to be robotic, without feelings, but it’s critical that their leadership development enables them to learn to control their emotions so as not to panic or confuse those who serve under them. Presenting a sense of calm is an important trait for all leaders to have, regardless of what external or internal stressors they face.

Strong leaders must have three traits to allow their employees to know how they will respond in any situation:

  • Predictability
  • Consistency
  • Accountability

Leaders who can’t appropriately manage their emotions are simply “wild cards,” and their lack of control will be reflected in the behavior of their teams. When leaders panic, employees follow suit, and operating in a mode of fear is never a good thing for a business.

This is not to say that leaders shouldn’t be emotional about things that cause them angst, but they need to give themselves time to be upset and quickly gain control before making decisions. From a leadership development standpoint, moving from an emotional state to a problem-solving mode needs to occur in a timely fashion.

Is being resilient an innate trait? It can be, but the good news is that it also can be learned. Several core features of resiliency are necessary to incorporate into an effective resiliency training program:

  • Developing personal/professional vision and goals
  • Aligning individual values, principles, and beliefs with the organization
  • Creating a work environment that fosters support
  • Assessing individual motivation for change
  • Encouraging self-initiation of coaching process
  • Teaching effective coping skills, effective problem-solving skills, and strategies to increase self-efficacy

As a performance coach, I’ve seen how beneficial it is for everyone to learn coping mechanisms that allow them to manage their emotions and move forward, judging their success on the decreasing frequency of “meltdowns” and their durations. For leaders, the need to recover quickly is magnified since their teams take behavioral cues from them, and when they mirror a leader who’s highly resilient, they will adapt easier to change, be more productive, and have a positive effect on coworkers and the business as a whole.

Clinical psychologist and executive coach Dr. Denise P. Federer is the founder and principal of Federer Performance Management Group, LLC. She brings more than 20 years of experience as a clinician, researcher, speaker, author, and consultant to her work as a performance coach. Dr. Federer, who received her B.A. in Psychology from the Honors Program at the University of Michigan and her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Nova University, is an expert in stress management, health and wellness, communication styles, performance enhancement, and motivational strategies. Dr. Federer is a member of the International Coaching Federation (ICF) as a credentialed Professional Certified Coach (PCC). She also has received certificates in Family Business Advising and Family Wealth Advising. Her professional affiliations over the last 24 years include the following:

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