Leadership: 5 Ways to Boost Resilience

Image courtesy of jesadaphorn at FreeDigitalPhotos.netLeadership: 5 Ways to Boost Resilience

Yesterday I saw my eight-year old daughter being dragged through the sand by her pony. It ran wild and she got stuck in the reigns. Fortunately without consequences. But it made me realize again how resilient children are. While every adult in that paddock was still trembling, she got up, shook the sand of her clothes and mounted her pony to continue the ride. During the rest of that horse-riding lesson, I thought about this and how we adults handle stressful situations.

Described by Wikipedia as one’s ability to properly adapt to stress and adversity, literature mentions different visions on resilience. It can be seen as a personality trait, as a process or as an outcome (Olsson et al, 2003). In the first scenario, there’s not much you can do to change it. People with a more resilient personality will simply perform better under stress and recover more quickly from setbacks. Those are the ones getting back on their horse without hesitating. And when looking at resilience as an outcome, it is seen as a competence people “might” develop when experiencing misfortune and setback. Let’s say you need to be dragged through that sand more than once in order to develop some resiliency. And no guarantees ;-)

Most research now shows that resilience is the result of an individual being able to handle the process that promotes well-being and protects against the overwhelming influence of risk factors (Woodgate, 1991). And that’s good news. Understanding the underlying mechanism makes it possible to consciously enhance ones ability to recover quickly from difficulties. It can be learned and developed by anyone. Be honest, being a leader, you expect it, not only from yourself, but also from your direct reports. They need to perform under stress, recover quickly after being disillusioned (for example after not winning that big contract), stay motivated and expect good outcomes despite an over-challenging business plan, use the challenges you give them for growth, etc.

On top of, as we all know, those are not the only problems that need to be addressed. Setbacks and misfortune come in many shapes: family, relationship, health, finances, professional, etc. And personal problems interfere with professional performance. And the other way around. Whether you like it or not. Being one of the lucky executive Coaches working with top-management at the Coca-Cola Company, I love to rave about the speech of it’s former CEO, Bryan Dyson. Mister Dyson speaks of life as a game in which you are juggling five balls in the air. Work, Family, Health, Friends and Spirit. He refers to work as being the only rubber ball. The others are made of glass. I don’t need to tell you resilience will definitely be needed if you drop one of those. But let’s focus on that one rubber ball called Work.

Based on what’s written in literature and my experience as an executive Coach, I came up with five ideas for daily leadership. All of them increasing the mental toughness of your team:

1. Promote self-esteem
Express your trust for your team-member to cope successfully with the challenges given. Don’t solve the problem for them but support them in growing their own problem-solving skills. Give access to all possible resources in order to do so. Let them take full responsibility. Give them the ability to effect change and let them take decisive actions in adverse situations. Let them succeed on their own merits.

2. Tolerate discomfort
Be accessible, listen and keep a long-term perspective. As a leader, place the stressful event in a broader context and avoid seeing setbacks as unbearable problems. Think productively. Coach them. Let them self-appraise strengths and weaknesses. Move towards the goals and oblige them to reflect on their own progress. Offer encouragement when needed and direct vulnerable individuals to more optimistic paths. Some things take time.

3. Provide opportunities
Embrace change. Personal development and training supports your people in developing their interaction skills with the environment. Make sure budgets are spend on those domains needed. Develop their communication and problem-solving skills. Let them learn how to manage strong feelings and impulses when times get rough. Let them be kind without pleasing. Learn them to say no. Develop self-reflection and let them learn from their mistakes.

4. Build your team
Pay attention to building your team. Stimulate camaraderie and supportive relationships. Create a sense of personal and collective purpose. Let your team take responsibility for the greater good. Celebrate individual and collective successes without comparing or judging. Keep looking forward and let the past be the past. Create a platform for open communication. Always with respect and based on self-reflection.

5. What if one of the other balls falls?
There are five balls, remember? Unfortunately, people do bring their problems to work. Visible or not, it’s in their thoughts, their worries. Loss of concentration, creativity, customer service, etc. With big impact. Talk about the impact and possible temporary adjustment of the responsibilities. Strike a balance between empathy and expectations. Ask what the person needs. Encourage without giving advice.

I am sure there are many more ways to increase the mental toughness of your team members. And in times of pullulating burnout, every idea is welcome. So don’t hesitate to share your experiences below. Please share what works for you. And what doesn’t. And how about your own resilience?

If reading this makes you want to know more about what we do at BigFish4.me, call us or email: [email protected]

I’ll be happy to talk to you!

Sofie Varrewaere is the founder of BigFish4.me. After studying a Master in Psychological and Pedagogical Sciences, she ogled into the magical world of Recruitment, Selection and HR Services. Working for the world leader in HR, she has always been in an advisory role in relation to the larger goals of several multinational organizations. In 2013 she started her own company in International executive Coaching. Doing what she is good at, challenging others as well as herself. Image courtesy of jesadaphorn at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

< Share small business news, blogs and social media tips with Project Eve’s community of small business owners and entrepreneurs today. Our contributors come from a wide range of backgrounds; so whether you are a small business owner, social media strategist, financial adviser, serial entrepreneur, or write an amateur blog we urge you to contribute a blog to our 500,000+ community today. For more information, please refer to our Content Submissions Guidelines.

Add a Blog


  1. I was just seeking this info for some time. After six hours of continuous Googleing, finally I got it in your web site. I wonder what is the Google’s problem that doesn’t rank this type of informative websites closer to the top. Usually the top sites are full of garbage.

  2. I’ve been exploring for a bit for any high quality articles or weblog posts in this sort of area . Exploring in Yahoo I eventually stumbled upon this website. Reading this info So i’m satisfied to convey that I have an incredibly good uncanny feeling I discovered exactly what I needed. I most definitely will make sure to do not disregard this website and give it a glance on a continuing basis.

  3. I’m not sure why but this weblog is loading extremely slow for me. Is anyone else having this problem or is it a problem on my end? I’ll check back later and see if the problem still exists.

  4. Appreciating the time and energy you put into your site and in depth information you provide. It’s great to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same old rehashed material. Great read! I’ve bookmarked your site and I’m adding your RSS feeds to my Google account.

  5. Hey there! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a group of volunteers and starting a new initiative in a community in the same niche. Your blog provided us beneficial information to work on. You have done a extraordinary job!

  6. If you are concerned to learn Web optimization strategies then you should read this piece of writing, I am sure you will obtain much more from this article about Search engine marketing.

  7. magnificent post, very informative. I wonder why the other experts of this sector don’t notice this. You must continue your writing. I’m confident, you have a great readers’ base already!

  8. Greetings from Florida! I’m bored to tears at work so I decided to check out your site on my iphone during lunch break. I love the information you present here and can’t wait to take a look when I get home. I’m shocked at how quick your blog loaded on my mobile .. I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyhow, amazing site!

  9. One important thing is that when you’re searching for a education loan you may find that you’ll need a cosigner. There are many situations where this is true because you may find that you do not employ a past credit ranking so the mortgage lender will require that you’ve got someone cosign the financing for you. Great post.

  10. Thanks for your article. I would love to opinion that the first thing you will need to do is determine whether you really need credit restoration. To do that you will have to get your hands on a duplicate of your credit history. That should never be difficult, ever since the government necessitates that you are allowed to have one free of charge copy of your credit report yearly. You just have to request the right individuals. You can either browse the website for your Federal Trade Commission or perhaps contact one of the main credit agencies specifically.

  11. Hey there! Quick question that’s totally off topic. Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly? My website looks weird when browsing from my apple iphone. I’m trying to find a theme or plugin that might be able to correct this issue. If you have any suggestions, please share. Cheers!

  12. Today, taking into consideration the fast chosen lifestyle that everyone is having, credit cards have a huge demand in the economy. Persons from every field are using credit card and people who are not using the credit card have prepared to apply for 1. Thanks for spreading your ideas about credit cards.

  13. Thanks for your publiction. Another element is that being photographer requires not only problems in recording award-winning photographs but also hardships in getting the best video camera suited to your requirements and most especially problems in maintaining the grade of your camera. That is very accurate and visible for those photography addicts that are into capturing a nature’s eye-catching scenes – the mountains, the particular forests, the particular wild or perhaps the seas. Going to these amazing places certainly requires a digicam that can live up to the wild’s tough landscapes.

  14. I have discovered some new issues from your web-site about computers. Another thing I have always thought is that computer systems have become a product that each family must have for many people reasons. They supply you with convenient ways in which to organize homes, pay bills, shop, study, hear music and in some cases watch tv series. An innovative technique to complete every one of these tasks is to use a notebook. These personal computers are portable ones, small, powerful and mobile.

  15. Hi, I think your site might be having browser compatibility issues. When I look at your blog site in Opera, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other then that, fantastic blog!

  16. Sweet blog! I found it while searching on Yahoo News. Do you have any suggestions on how to get listed in Yahoo News? I’ve been trying for a while but I never seem to get there! Thank you

  17. I just could not leave your web site before suggesting that I extremely enjoyed the standard information an individual provide in your visitors? Is gonna be again incessantly in order to investigate cross-check new posts

  18. Interesting article. It’s very unfortunate that over the last decade, the travel industry has had to fight terrorism, SARS, tsunamis, flu virus, swine flu, and the first ever entire global downturn. Through it all the industry has proven to be powerful, resilient plus dynamic, locating new approaches to deal with adversity. There are always fresh difficulties and chance to which the sector must yet again adapt and act in response.

  19. Hi! Quick question that’s totally off topic. Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly? My weblog looks weird when viewing from my iphone. I’m trying to find a theme or plugin that might be able to fix this problem. If you have any suggestions, please share. Thanks!

  20. Next time I read a blog, I hope that it doesn’t disappoint me as much as this one. I mean, I know it was my choice to read through, however I actually believed you’d have something interesting to talk about. All I hear is a bunch of whining about something that you can fix if you were not too busy looking for attention.

  21. After going over a handful of the articles on your website, I truly appreciate your technique of writing a blog. I added it to my bookmark webpage list and will be checking back in the near future. Take a look at my website as well and tell me how you feel.

  22. I am not sure where you are getting your info, but good topic. I needs to spend some time learning more or understanding more. Thanks for fantastic info I was looking for this information for my mission.

  23. After checking out a number of the blog articles on your blog, I honestly appreciate your technique of writing a blog. I book marked it to my bookmark website list and will be checking back in the near future. Please check out my website as well and let me know how you feel.

  24. I was curious if you ever considered changing the page layout of your site? Its very well written; I love what youve got to say. But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only having one or 2 pictures. Maybe you could space it out better?

  25. One other issue is that if you are in a problem where you will not have a co-signer then you may actually want to try to make use of all of your federal funding options. You could find many awards and other scholarships or grants that will offer you finances to help you with college expenses. Many thanks for the post.

  26. Thanks for your post. I also think that laptop computers are getting to be more and more popular right now, and now are often the only type of computer utilised in a household. The reason being at the same time actually becoming more and more reasonably priced, their computing power keeps growing to the point where they are as robust as pc’s coming from just a few in years past.

  27. Today, I went to the beach with my kids. I found a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She put the shell to her ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear. She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is completely off topic but I had to tell someone!

  28. Along with every thing which seems to be developing within this subject matter, your viewpoints happen to be fairly stimulating. Nonetheless, I beg your pardon, but I do not give credence to your whole suggestion, all be it refreshing none the less. It would seem to us that your opinions are actually not completely validated and in simple fact you are yourself not fully convinced of your point. In any case I did take pleasure in reading it.

  29. Thank you so much for giving everyone an extremely pleasant possiblity to read in detail from this blog. It really is very useful plus jam-packed with a great time for me and my office mates to visit your blog at the least 3 times a week to learn the fresh stuff you have got. And indeed, I am also usually impressed with your extraordinary opinions served by you. Selected 4 tips in this posting are clearly the most effective we’ve ever had.

  30. 902685 930969Hey, you used to write great, but the last couple of posts have been kinda boring I miss your tremendous writings. Past couple of posts are just a bit out of track! come on! 141557

  31. 962274 771857Wow, superb blog layout! How long have you been blogging for? you make blogging look straightforward. The overall look of your web site is magnificent, as nicely as the content! xrumer 128308


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here