Why resilience is a top leadership skill for 2019

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What challenges lie ahead for leaders in 2019? Plenty. In our VUCA world, leadership can feel like an endurance event. Battling against constant change and dealing with depleting resources. Competing for skilled employees – and then doing what you can to try and keep them. All the time trying to do more, with less.

To survive – and thrive, technical skills are important. But increasingly emotional skills matter more. Managing change, personal motivation, creativity, problem-solving and resilience are all vital.

Resilience is what allows you to stay tough-minded, energetic and resolute despite challenges.

Without it, it’s hard to keep going, lead others, be creative or perform well. Resilience allows you to accept change, not fight it. To find solutions, not see problems.

Resilience isn’t something that comes naturally to all of us. Particularly in today’s world, many people are struggling with stress and anxiety in the workplace. According to the UK Labour Force Survey, 595,000 workers suffered from work-related stress depression or anxiety in 2017/2018, with 15.4 million working days lost due to work-related stress, depression or anxiety. In the US, an Everyday Health survey reported that just over a third of all respondents say their job or career is a regular source of stress. Among millennials and Gen Zers, the chronically work-stressed rose to 44 percent.

How can leaders take action?

Resilience is something that you can develop, as well as help your team to develop it for themselves. Here are 4 steps to getting started:

  • Write a list of things that add to or subtract from your resilience. These can be task or people related. Think about what causes the difference. What tactics and tools can you use to protect the good stuff and address the negative bits?
  • Remember that process, not outcomes, are within your control. If you decide you are investing in a process you can keep realigning it and working with whatever comes your way. Adaptability, flexibility, and resilience are all very connected.
  • Connecting strongly to values and beliefs helps you manage and navigate difficult and overwhelming events. Ensure that you and those around you really do believe in your organization’s purpose and feel that you are able to influence it every day. Seeing the bigger picture can help you put everyday issues into context.
  • Accessing the future can help you manage the present. Think of a time in the future, as near as realistically possible, when everything is going well. What’s different? How are you behaving? What are you doing? Write down what it looks and feels like. Then identify what you need to do to make that happen.

Not so Blue Monday

Today, the third Monday in January, is known as Blue Monday. It’s said to be the combination of post-Christmas blues, cold dark nights and the arrival of unpaid credit card bills. But developing resilience is a core skill that can address negative feelings and enable you to see the positive side – to recognize opportunity. Make increasing resilience the one resolution you do keep to this year and you and your team will feel the rewards.

About [email protected]

Picture of Julia Lindsay, CEO of iOpener Institute

I have 25 years experience running and supporting businesses. 

I trained as an accountant and cut my teeth in the hospitality sector where I came to understand all that makes a business profitable (or not!)

With 15 years experience in the financial services industry, I led teams in financial management and control, operations, and change management. I know that a combination of a strong people and commercial focus delivers results.

The results and feedback I get both as a consultant and coach comes from my talent for developing practical and relevant approaches and solutions. 

Through this, I have enabled organizations to deliver their strategy and goals efficiently and effectively. And my professional training as an accountant means I have a strong commercial approach to everything I do.

As Managing Director and part owner of iOpener Ltd and iOpener Institute for People and Performance, I help our clients to raise productivity. We do this by putting our groundbreaking and unique research - the Science of Happiness - to work.

Specialties: Science of Happiness at Work, executive coaching, leadership development

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