Becoming a Resilient Leader

Becoming a Resilient Leader

Would you consider yourself a resilient leader?

The Oxford dictionary defines “resilient” as “(of a person) able to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions.” Basically, do you bounce back from mistakes, failures, and adversity quickly or do they wreck you, your productivity and your overall effectiveness? 

Over the past 2 years, the pandemic has exposed the facade of resiliency in many areas such as the economy, supply chain, and the job market to name a few. Potentially more critical, is that this unprecedented difficulty has shown that people are not as resilient as they think.

The pre-2020 Shawn would have responded to the question at the beginning of this post with a resounding “Yes!” (and more than a hint of arrogance in my tone). However, once lockdowns started, my business dried up overnight which created a domino effect of stress and issues. How am I going to provide for my family? Do I keep going with my business or make a pivot? If I decided to change jobs, what job would I do? These are just a few of the myriad of questions that ran through my mind. In short, I lacked leadership resiliency. I had a hard time bouncing back and figuring out what to do next. 

(Note: this blog is focusing on professional struggles due to the pandemic which in the scheme of things does not compare to the loss of life and the difficulties that many others have faced during the pandemic. Just like many of you I have lost loved ones and that will remain the most devastating effect of this season life)

Basically, the pandemic exposed my lack of resilience as a business owner, leader, and person in general. Adversity is an inevitable part of life but the way one responds to those difficult moments reveals their resiliency (or the lack thereof). Unfortunately, for me I didn’t bounce back as quick as I feel like I should’ve. 

But after getting proverbially punched in the mouth by the pandemic and waking up in a daze. I decided to get off the mat and start “fighting” back. My goal was to use this adverse season as a learning opportunity to strengthen my leadership resiliency. 

So in 2021, I embarked on a journey to explore science-backed techniques to help strengthen my mental and emotional toughness so I could be better prepared for those storms of life. 

Let’s unpack toughness. James Loehr in his book, Toughness Training for Life, describes toughness as “nice guys and gals who know how to lead happy, productive, and healthy lives.” It doesn’t mean not showing emotion or admitting weak areas. Toughness or leadership resilience is the ability to use adversity as a catalyst for growth, development, and ultimately success instead of letting the pressure crumble our leadership aspirations. 

Toughness = Managing Stress and Maximizing Recovery.

Over the next few weeks, I’m going to share with you 9 Managing Stress Hacks and 9 Maximizing Recovering Methods that research shows will not only help you increase your toughness and resilience but the end product will be more productivity and a greater sense of overall happiness. 


Game Plan

  • On a scale from 1-10 (1=low, 10=high), how resilient of a leader would you rate yourself before the pandemic? Now how would you rate yourself?
  • Think through one reason you want to become a more resilient leader and person. 


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