Build Resilience as a Leader

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Change happens – unexpected and undesired.


Build Resilience as a Leader


Some changes – such as a business expansion fully resourced with people, money, and time – present a natural positive perception and impact.

While other changes, such as those listed below, present inherent challenges:

  • Organization restructures
  • Downsizing
  • Rapid up-sizing
  • Business relocation
  • New product, service, or system implementation
  • Leadership shifts and more

Challenges offer leaders the most opportunity to build resilience.

The life of a Centenarian, who lived almost 102 years and undoubtedly experienced decades of life-impacting change, provides insight about resilience.

Building Resilience

Strategy 1: Filter and Move Forward.

Acknowledge the current reality, yet don’t stay there. Keep focused on the strategic, long-range goals. Keep in mind what is within and outside of your control.

Consider the following:

  • How can you and your team contribute to the organization’s overall vision, mission, and goals?
  • What can you learn in the present situation to use now and in the future?

Focus on the positive possibilities of the situation, making the most of the current reality while pursuing the desired future state.

Strategy 2: Remember to Practice Encouragement – Beginning with Yourself.

It is easier to demonstrate strength in leadership when there is confidence within.

Bring into focus the thing that encourages you – a quote, personal slogan, book, movie, or even a song. Oftentimes, what one thinks manifests into words and actions when leading others.

  • Consider keeping a daily journal to capture accomplishments and experiences that produce new learning as journaling provides intel to help shape future decisions and actions.  It also becomes a source of encouragement.

Become your greatest champion and encourager, establishing the platform to support those you lead and influence.

Strategy 3: Focus on the Greater Good.

Resilience involves focusing on the positive impact that actions and decisions have on others.

As the character Mr. Spock stated in Star Trek II, “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.” Captain Kirk added, “Or the one.”

Leaders generally embrace challenging experiences, rather than running from them, helping those within their spheres of influence to refocus on the greater good.

Strategy 4: Leverage Talents and Skills.

Break the barriers and learn something new during a challenging change experience.

A leader’s days are filled with navigating business situations, yet an important aspect of leadership is to “Sharpen the Saw” (The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen R. Covey).

  • Commit to increasing your knowledge and skills, even in the midst of major change. That may involve reserving time on your calendar at beginning or end of day (or whatever works) to reflect, research, read, and determine how to apply new learnings.
  • Determine how you can leverage your talents and skills to advance the organization’s business agenda.

Beyond personal development, work to advance your team members’ talents, skills, roles and contributions as a result of the change.

Strategy 5: Lead with Great Expectations.

Enter each day with the thought of leading your team to realize zenith experiences.

  • Always show up to coach an “A” game.

Neither complicate the business with unnecessary options or decisions, nor relentlessly dwell on the past (or on present actions and decisions outside your control or influence).

A Last Word

As the Centenarian demonstrated during his lifetime, resilience can be summarized in a Winston Churchill quote:

“Never give in…never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense.”

Resilience is a daily choice.

Which of these leadership strategies will you focus on now? What one action will you immediately take to build your resilience?

Contact us to schedule your complimentary Discovery session.

Lillian Davenport, SPHR, SHRM – SCP, CTACC, Principal, End View Solutions, LLC

Lillian Davenport is a coach, consultant, and women’s leadership strategist. Her leadership program, THE END VIEW FLAME SYSTEM, guides women in bringing together their talents, strengths, and executive presence to experience a thriving career.

Lillian’s career as a human resources leader includes roles at JPMorgan Chase & Co., Woodforest National Bank, and American International Group, Inc. (AIG), where she leveraged employee relations, and diversity, equity, and inclusion expertise in leadership development.