Make 2021 the Year of Business Resilience for Your Leadership
There is no “new normal” or “next to normal” coming.
If you’re waiting for this, you’ll be waiting at least 2 years. You, your team, and your business won’t last that long.
Instead, we need to be doing “what works right now.”
You need a mindset, tools, and actions that allow you to stretch, adapt, be creative and open-minded, and continue to thrive despite the difficulties around you.
The key skill you need right now is resilience.
Resilience is, according to the American Psychological Association, “the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or significant sources of stress.” Resilient people still freak out from time to time but they also recognize when they need to take a deep breath, grab another cup of coffee, and get to work.
Resilience is the secret superpower that gets us from this sucky day to a hopeful future, and to find the happiness and joy in between.
“This [this pandemic and year of social unrest] is the ultimate test of your leadership and an opportunity for you to show your employees what you’re made of.” Paul Argenti
As a mid-level leader, your people need you as a role model. This doesn’t mean you need to always have your sh*t together or have all the answers.
Instead, it means being willing to admit that you’re unsure how to lead through an economic disaster caused by a public health crisis. Admit that sometimes you need a day off to re-charge your batteries.
Let them know that they need to show up with accountability just as much as you do. Communicate how important it is to solve today’s problems, not yesterday’s. Furthermore, make decisions despite the uncertainty. Get scrappy again to save money and find creative solutions to enormous problems.
A resilient leader knows what is truly within his/her/their span of control, and what isn’t. With control comes confidence, clarity, and courage and this combo creates power.
For example, you may do everything in your power to NOT get COVID-19. But have you made plans for what happens if you do? A powerful leader will create plans now so that the team can act immediately once you’re down for the count.
Build resilience with this step-by-step toolkit.
Resilience is the ability to adapt well in the face of stress — to go from flying by the seat of your pants to purposeful growth. This is the essential skill needed for the recovery ahead. Get started with this toolkit.
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How to Lead with Resilience
No doubt you’re being pulled in a thousand directions every day. And you’re probably thinking: “Wow, Stefanie, you want me to add one 1 more thing? I’m already picking up a lot of people’s slack.”
Yep. That’s exactly what I’m asking you to do. But resilience uses what you already got. This is a skill you already possess—because you’re made for hard things. Here are some steps toward resilience I’ve heard from my people:
- Continuing with a regimen of working out every day to manage the stress.
- Using focused blocks of time to knock out the most important work every day. Feeling accomplished keeps overwhelm at bay.
- Re-engaging with coaching to make sure she stays accountable for the work and changes ahead.
- Bringing accountability training to their team so they have the skills to step up their game but the manager doesn’t bear the load of teaching all of it.
- Creating a 2-year disaster plan as an interim strategic plan.
Here are the steps to connect the work above to resilience:
- Know and live out your values consistently. Your values are the innate beliefs that drive you at home and at work. Make sure you’re clear on how you want to lead through this hot mess. It makes decision-making much easier.
- Rely on your own personal leadership style to maintain confidence and connection with your purpose. It’s a bit easier to move through uncertainty with a compass. Make sure you can answer the question, “Why would someone want to be led by me?” This is your compass.
- Take care of your own emotional, physical, and spiritual needs. It’s time to let go of the hustle culture that tells us to be on and digitally connected 24/7. Share accountability with your team and let go of the need to be at your team’s or boss’ beck and call. If you’re reading this, you’re not an ER doctor…no need to act like one in your business.
- Make bold decisions that you know are the right thing to do. Now is not the time for analysis paralysis or too much of a wait-and-see approach. Indecision is still a form of decision. Your job as a resilient leader is to make the best decision with the info you have today. Action creates clarity.
Resilience is about powering up, not powering through.
In conclusion, this is a time for you to show your team and those around you what you’re made of. In the classic Christmas movie, Die Hard, even John McClane took a break, re-calibrated his strategy, and then went back in to save more people. You’re probably not in the business of saving lives, but this is your time to do something really important. Resilience will be the key to having a little fun along the way.
Be ready to embrace this next year and resilience can be your superpower too! Onward!