How Does Resilience Impact Leadership?

How Does Resilience Impact Leadership?

Exploring the crucial role of resilience in leadership, we've gathered firsthand accounts from top executives and founders. From the importance of personal and organizational resilience to how to adapt strategies amidst market changes, dive into the diverse experiences of fifteen business leaders that illustrate the power of resilience.

  • Personal and Organizational Resilience
  • Embrace Radical Resilience
  • Promote Compassionate Advantage
  • Lead with Optimism and Adaptability
  • Stay Adaptable in Market Downturns
  • Turn Setbacks into Stepping Stones
  • Lead Adaptively Amidst Severe Weather
  • Drive Growth Through Resilient Mindset
  • Navigate E-Commerce Challenges with Flexibility
  • Apply Lessons from Reorganization
  • Navigate Financial Crisis with Vision
  • Pivot Effectively During Disruptions
  • Decisive Action Against Cybersecurity Threats
  • Inspire Comeback After Campaign Failure
  • Adapt Strategies Amidst Market Changes

Personal and Organizational Resilience

Definitions of resilience in leadership vary widely, but in general, there are two kinds of resilience: personal—that which helps a leader to cope with the many demands of leadership—and organizational—that which helps a leader to frame team failures as opportunities for learning and evolution. In my experience, I've found that leaders who build their personal resilience are more adept at leveraging organizational resilience in their leadership styles. As a result, teams are more grounded, balanced, and ambitious.

As a business leader, I fiercely protect my personal resilience and grow it through a carefully balanced daily practice of meditation and mindfulness, exercise, social connections, gratitude, nature, nutrition, and sleep, so that I can operate at peak efficacy and approach organizational objectives courageously and resiliently. Before I intentionally attended to resilience, our organization's growth was slow and plodding. Once I not only began to treat my own well-being and resilience as a non-negotiable but also encouraged my team to do so, I saw what a difference it made, not only for myself but for the business's growth. My team was more energetic and enthusiastic, and we all looked at things with fresher eyes and a healthier perspective, which ultimately led to profound growth and expansion.

When I look at how many of my clients' organizations are grinding employees into the ground with back-to-back meetings and expectations of 80-plus-hour workweeks just to get the job done, it's easy to see how employees have become deeply disengaged. On the other hand, I also can see how, once leadership teams take a different approach and begin to adopt a more resilient style, the organization begins to work ever so much more effectively and productively. Resilience in leadership (and encouraging it in our team members) is incredibly powerful.

Susan Baroncini-Moe
Susan Baroncini-MoeExecutive Coach, Baroncini-Moe Executive Coaching

Embrace Radical Resilience

Leading Career Club, I've embraced Radical Resilience, inspired by Dr. Andy Garrett, to guide my leadership. Like buffaloes charging into a storm, this approach emphasizes facing challenges head-on, finding the positives, and using each obstacle as a stepping stone for growth. This mindset has kept my team connected and motivated through pivots and setbacks, showing that every challenge is an opportunity for improvement and resilience. I believe that by leading with courage and clarity, we not only overcome challenges but emerge stronger, fostering a culture where everyone can thrive.

Bob Goodwin
Bob GoodwinCareer Strategist, Career Club

Promote Compassionate Advantage

Although personal resilience is important, it may be even more important to help employees/team members become resilient. Many people face challenges at work, at home, in the community, or as part of the world. Life encompasses all experiences—good, bad, boring, exceptional, frightening, heartening.... People who do the best in life also perform their best at work. If work reinforces life, then people are more dedicated and they work better.

Businesses and organizations that promote the 'compassionate advantage' are more likely to be successful. And in signaling the goal of respect for the workers, commitment to sustainable practices, and building a culture of support, they are more likely to attract and retain a diverse and robust workforce.

Yes, I've had bad experiences in my life, both personally and as a manager/owner/director. But when I surround myself with competency and community, all experiences are elevated. When it 'sucks to be you,' few want to be around, to be supportive, to have your back. But when the culture of compassionate advantage is possible, then resilience is the result.

Jeff Pryorco-founder, Pathfinder Solutions

Lead with Optimism and Adaptability

During a challenging project setback, remaining resilient was crucial. Instead of dwelling on the failure, the focus shifted to problem-solving and motivating the team. This experience reinforced that resilience isn't just about enduring tough times but leading with optimism and adaptability. The team's morale and productivity soared, ultimately turning the setback into a successful outcome. Resilience in leadership inspires confidence and fosters a culture of perseverance.

Khurram Suhrwardy
Khurram SuhrwardyCEO, Caption Easy

Stay Adaptable in Market Downturns

During a major market downturn, several properties faced vacancies. Instead of panicking, we focused on creative marketing and improving property appeal. This resilience not only filled the vacancies but also increased tenant satisfaction and long-term retention, underscoring the power of staying adaptable and optimistic in tough times.

Jessica Wright
Jessica WrightOwner, Buy My Home Chattanooga

Turn Setbacks into Stepping Stones

Navigating the early days of founding Dundas Life highlighted the essence of resilience in leadership. Facing the dual challenges of securing venture capital and establishing a market presence, the journey was fraught with setbacks. However, steadfast commitment and a willingness to learn from each experience turned potential failures into stepping stones. This resilience not only propelled the business forward but also instilled a culture of perseverance and adaptability within the team.

Gregory Rozdeba
Gregory RozdebaCEO, Dundas Life

Lead Adaptively Amidst Severe Weather

One particular experience that highlights the essence of resilience in leadership occurred during a challenging period when our coffee plantation faced severe weather conditions, threatening our harvest. Despite meticulous planning and preparation, nature had its own plans. As the leader, I had to quickly reassess the situation, devise contingency plans, and keep morale high among our team members, who were understandably disheartened.

We implemented innovative farming techniques, collaborated closely with agricultural experts, and rallied the community for support. Ultimately, we managed to salvage a significant portion of our harvest, surpassing expectations given the circumstances. This experience taught me that resilience isn't just about bouncing back from setbacks; it's about embracing change, leading with adaptability, and inspiring others to persevere in the face of adversity.

Mimi Nguyen
Mimi NguyenFounder, Cafely

Drive Growth Through Resilient Mindset

During the early days of Sensables, we faced a major tech setback that threatened our launch. Instead of panicking, the team and I focused on problem-solving and persistence. By fostering a resilient mindset and working together tirelessly, we turned the challenge into an opportunity for innovation. This experience highlighted that resilience in leadership not only overcomes obstacles but also drives growth and creativity.

Gideon Ruben
Gideon RubenCEO, Your IAQ

Navigate E-Commerce Challenges with Flexibility

One of the most significant examples of resilience that shaped my leadership was when the pandemic hit. Like many of our peers, our operations faced unprecedented challenges due to changing international regulations and abrupt changes in consumer behavior. During this time, we had to rapidly adjust to increased online purchases while dealing with reduced air-freight capacity and increased security measures.

We had to think fast—literally fast. We had to re-engineer our operations to focus on critical items and move to contactless delivery. I was in charge of managing these rapid changes while keeping morale high. By communicating openly and being open about the issues we were facing, we were able to not only keep our business going but also see a huge boost in customer confidence and loyalty.

From this experience, I learned that resilience in leadership isn't just about surviving the storm; it's about leading your team through the storm. Resilience means being flexible, having a clear vision in the face of uncertainty, and communicating effectively. Not only did we survive, but we also thrived, showing that resilience is a key factor in the fast-paced world of e-commerce.

Jen Seran
Jen SeranDirector of Operations, Stallion Express

Apply Lessons from Reorganization

Resilience is a critical ingredient in the work of conscious leaders, and sometimes it requires a softening to let go. In my book F.O.R.G.E.D., I have a chapter that gives specific corporate examples of how the use of resilience propelled them. One of my experiences in decades of consulting and employee technology leadership was when I had a highly functioning global team that I'd built from zero with several different vendors, and I was then instructed to dismantle it to hire a completely new staff because of a change in prime vendors.

My several years of work were getting dashed. The only way to survive was to take what I had learned and start again. In this reorg effort, I was the last leader to be brought on, but I completed my team build before the others because of this softening and opening to see the situation as it was—rather than how it had been. The new team was so efficient that we met and beat the new metrics, and I was given the leadership to create the metrics for all of the other teams.

Douglas Scherer
Douglas SchererBusiness Advisor and Author, F.O.R.G.E.D.

Navigate Financial Crisis with Vision

During the financial crisis, our garden furniture business faced severe challenges. Staying resilient meant rapidly adapting to market shifts and cutting costs without compromising quality. By fostering a supportive team environment and maintaining a clear vision, we not only survived but emerged stronger. This experience highlighted how resilience in leadership can turn adversity into an opportunity for growth and innovation.

Andrew Griffith
Andrew GriffithOwner, Garden Furniture

Pivot Effectively During Disruptions

In the early days of JetLevel Aviation, we faced a significant challenge when a volcanic ash cloud disrupted air travel across Europe. Flights were grounded, and the chaos was palpable. As a leader, I had to quickly pivot, securing alternative transportation options and accommodations for our clients. This experience taught me the crucial role of resilience in leadership—staying calm, being resourceful, and maintaining open lines of communication are essential in navigating crises effectively. This not only helped us overcome the immediate challenges but also built lasting trust with our clients.

Fahd Khan
Fahd KhanDirector of Marketing & Technology, JetLevel Aviation

Decisive Action Against Cybersecurity Threats

A specific incident that comes to mind is when we faced a severe cybersecurity threat that could have compromised our client data. The ability to remain calm and take decisive actions under pressure was pivotal. I had to quickly assess the situation, communicate effectively with both my team and our clients, and initiate our pre-planned response protocols. This experience reinforced the value of preparedness and adaptability in crisis management.

Reflecting on this experience, we learned several key lessons that led to substantial improvements in our procedures. Post-incident analysis showed that our rapid response reduced potential damages by 40%. It became a case study on the effectiveness of resilient leadership at Parachute. We now use this incident in our training programs to illustrate the importance of resilience, preparedness, and emotional intelligence in leadership.

Elmo Taddeo
Elmo TaddeoCEO, Parachute

Inspire Comeback After Campaign Failure

Resilience in leadership isn't just a buzzword; it's a lifeline. I remember a time when we launched a major campaign that, frankly, flopped. The team was demoralized, our budget had taken a hit, and it felt like we were scraping the bottom of the barrel. As the leader, I could have wallowed in that failure, but that's not how you inspire a comeback.

I had to show up, reassess, and drive the team forward. We gathered to dissect what went wrong and, crucially, what we could salvage and improve. This approach not only turned around our strategy but also reinforced a culture where it's okay to fail, learn, and pivot. In the end, the resilience to not give up and to learn from our mistakes led us to refine our methods and secure a significant win with the next campaign. It was a clear reminder that leadership isn't about never failing; it's about not letting failures define us.

Andrew Lee Jenkins
Andrew Lee JenkinsOwner, Catalyst RVA Marketing Agency

Adapt Strategies Amidst Market Changes

Resilience in leadership has been crucial throughout my career, particularly as the CEO of Dental SEO Expert. This trait became especially significant during a challenging phase when we were transitioning our focus toward more comprehensive digital strategies for dental clinics amidst increasing competition and changing market demands. My ability to stay focused and adaptive was tested as we navigated through these turbulent times.

During this period, one of our major projects involved a complete overhaul of a client's digital presence, which required us to not only redesign their website but also refine our SEO strategies to address new Google algorithm updates. The complexity of these tasks, combined with tight deadlines, led to significant stress on our team. My role was to keep the team motivated, ensuring that the pressure did not hamper our creativity and productivity.

Ihor Lavrenenko
Ihor LavrenenkoCEO, Dental SEO Expert

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