Thriving through adversity is an art. The key to mastering this art is resilience.

According to its simplest definition, resilience is the ability to recover quickly from physical, situational, or emotional difficulties. On the level of business leadership, resilience gains added significance.

In some ways, resilience goes hand-in-hand with maturity. And like maturity, it too can be learned, developed, and strengthened.

As I pointed out in my book Intelligent Leadership, a mature leader does not cast blame upon others. Instead, he or she almost immediately starts pondering ways to solve the problem.

You will find that if you draw up a plan to alleviate an adverse situation, you will immediately feel better and more optimistic. This is resilience kicking in. How quickly you can move from despair to planning and then to taking action, depends on your maturity and resilience.

There are many ways to hasten the triggering of your recovery process. Some people choose to re-frame the threat, looking upon it from a different perspective.

With the COVID-19 pandemic ravaging the world, we have heard that to slow it down, we don’t need to go to war as our grandparents did. All we need to do is stay at home. Drawing a direct comparison between the present pandemic and a much direr one from the past instantly makes the current conundrum appear less threatening and easier to handle.

Leadership Development: 10 Practical Ways to Build Resilience

Having coached scores of high-profile executives and worked in leadership development for decades, I have identified some highly efficient ways to build your resilience:

  1. Self-acceptance
  2. The acceptance of change
  3. Personal well being
  4. Building and maintaining relationships and connections
  5. A positive view of self
  6. Learning and After Action Reviews (AARs)
  7. Maturity
  8. Visualizing and seeing yourself as more resilient
  9. Maintaining a sense of humor
  10. Taking action


How can you build your resilience?

Accept Who You are and Strive to Improve

Know yourself, exercise control over your thoughts and emotions, and set realistic expectations. Be optimistic and thankful for what you have. Appreciating what you have accomplished empowers you. It also makes you more resilient.

Change is a Part of Life and Work

You may not always be able to push through everything you want. Certain obstacles you just cannot conquer. Do not dwell on what you cannot change. Shift your focus to what you can alter.

Take Good Care of Yourself, Mentally and Physically

Exercise offers mental and psychological benefits we still do not fully understand. Eat well, sleep well, and do not give up on “me time.”

We are Social Beings

Having people in your life on whom you can rely goes a long way toward boosting your resilience. Maintain good relationships with family, friends, and colleagues. Do not shy away from building new connections.

Be Confident and Trust Your Abilities

You are the hero of your own life “movie.” And you have proven countless times already that you can solve problems.

Learn from Experiences, Good and Bad

The best way to accomplish that is through After Action Reviews. AARs are structured ways to evaluate the situation and how to improve it. In addition to teaching you how to avoid mistakes in the future, AARs allow you to celebrate your successes.

Maturity and Resilience are Almost Synonymous

As you mature as a leader, you also grow more resilient. Experience teaches you that you can and will prevail against the odds.

Visualizing is a Powerful Resilience-Building Tool

See yourself as someone more resilient than you currently are. Use role models from a movie if that suits you.

Humor Relieves Stress 

Lighten up and use humor to regain control. By doing so, it gives you a chance to bounce back quickly.

Do Not Bury Your Head in the Sand

Your problems will not go away if you ignore them. Work up the courage to face them and take decisive action. Swinging into action stimulates resilience.

Check out my books as well as my speaking and coaching services for more actionable resilience-building advice.

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