Building Resilient Leaders – Part 2

Fulfill Life Purpose While Living Your Values

Having a strong sense of life purposeand aligning your activities with that purpose creates a strong foundation for wellbeing.  Emotional intelligence accounts for 85-90% of the difference between outstanding leaders and their more average peers. Emotional intelligence is a major factor in accomplishing life purpose.  Key areas of focus:

  • Self-awareness
  • Self-management
  • Social awareness
  • Relationship management

I have been working with several clients using the Enneagram to develop more insight about their personalities.  This tool helped one client identify why she is struggling in her leadership role.  She is focused on achieving (an overdone strength).  Her need to achieve overshadows her ability to work well with others.  When she became more aware of this quality, she began taking more time to work with her team members, remembering to slow down and take a few minutes to talk to them as people that she actually likes.  The team has responded very well.  Over the past year of using this awareness practice, she has seen her team productivity improve and her relationship with the team members improve.  Over this time, the entire team is more engaged and productive.

Keys to purpose and emotional resilience: Have a clear life purpose, develop skills in self-management, and appreciate and work with your emotions regularly.

Harness the Power of Connection

The ability to interact with other people with awareness, empathy, and skillfulness and to experience closeness is vital in building resilience.  Keys to connection: invest time in key relationships and build the necessary skills to relate with others such as communication and empathy. Interpersonal skills include the ability to interact with other people with awareness, empathy, and skillfulness.  Ideally, using interpersonal skills translates to empathic understanding to engage the strengths and energy of business relationships, at every level within the organization, as well as with customers and suppliers.

Accoding to Gallup “Those without a best friend in the workplace have just a 1 in 12 chance of being engaged.  Social relationships at work have also been shown to boost employee retention, safety, work quality and customer engagement.”  This research represents a significant shift in views of friendships at work and the importance of developing strong connections, yet the research is clear – investing the time in connection improves our work and our work environment.

I will be speaking at the ASQ Conference as the keynote speaker about Building Leadership Resilience.  If you are interested, please click the link.

Photocredit:  Power of connection David Boyle

 

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

Building Resilient Leaders – Part 1

In leadership terms, we define Resilience as the ability to adapt in the face of multiple changes while continuing to persevere toward strategic goals.  In our very dynamic work environment, we as leaders must build resilience in ourselves as well as in our employees.

As a leader, you actually become different based on the changing environment.  Most people, after a period of adjustment, bounce back to their previous level of happiness no matter what happens to them.  There are also several studies that support the idea that after a period of adjustment, people return to their prior level of happiness.

Think about someone you have worked with that you respected but they did not navigate challenge well.  It may have been tough to watch but not much you could do about it.  Here is a story of one of my clients.

I worked with a very talented leader who had some issues with resilience.  Under pressure he tended to get angry and controlling because he did not have a system to manage the stress.  He became short with his staff and caused them to become disengaged because they felt unsupported.  He would obsess about what others had done and get defensive.  He was becoming unhappy in her job – more unhappy than was reasonable based on her situation.  As we worked together, over time, he developed stronger coping skills and  has a much greater capacity to manage the same level of stress.  Some of the things he did were: start a reflection process while driving home from work, become aware of and manage his self talk – remembering that his boss really is on his side.  All of these activities contributed to improved physical health and also greatly improved her ability to motivate her team and produce higher quality work and enjoy working with their leader again. He also developed a much stronger relationship with the senior leadership team.

We break resilience into four primary categories:

  • Maintain Physical Wellbeing
  • Direct Mental Perspective
  • Fulfill Life Purpose While Living Your Values
  • Harness the Power of Connection

All of these categories are interlinked, none of them can be ignored for long-term resilience.  An example, tt is hard to think clearly if you are physically unhealthy and so on.  As you think of yourself as a leader, it is important to remember that maintaining personal resilience is as important as building other business or organizational skills.  In my coaching practice I often hear that leaders are too busy to take care of themselves.  I fully understand the delicate balancing act we all play and yet, building and maintaining resilience are quite important to your success.  One of the biggest challenges for leaders is balancing the time requirements for competing commitments.  Resilience is yet another one of those.  The good news is, as we improve our resilience, we will think more clearly and have a more positive impact with our interactions with others.  We will impact measures such as employee engagement, so an investment in resilience will likely drive improvements in your effectiveness as a leader.

Maintain Physical Wellbeing

According to Gallup, “Those with high physical wellbeing simply have more energy to get more done in less time.  They are more likely to be in a good mood, thus boosting the engagement of their colleagues and customers.”  This category is one we often best understand and yet give limited focus to.  Some basic elements include:

  • Get enough sleep
  • Exercise 6 days per week
  • Eat well
  • Limit caffeine
  • Eliminate nicotine
  • Meditate & relax
  • Take time in nature

One of the key goals in maintaining physical wellbeing is managing the amount and impact of stress.  Key to body resilience: Build daily routines that help your body recover from stress

Directing Mental Perspective

Mental perspective of resilience is based on our attitudes, beliefs, and assumptions rather than knowledge.  Negative and inflexible thinking prevents the ability to see the big picture and to find creative and alternative routes toward a goal.  The key to mental resilience: Question assumptions, attitudes and beliefs, and actively manage your thinking consistently.

Dr. Susan Kobasa’s research findings published in 1988 on AT&T executives indicated three major factors distinguish people who display stress hardiness and resilience:

  • Attitude toward CHALLENGE is positive
  • Believing that you have CONTROL over your own life
  • COMMITMENT to a belief that gives experience meaning and value

Read about Fulfill Life Purpose While Living Your Values and Harness the Power of Connection in our next post.

 I will be speaking at the ASQ Conference as the keynote speaker about Building Leadership Resilience.  If you are interested, please click the link.

If you are interested in learning more about resilience, or building your resilience, take our resilience assessment, attend a resilience class, attend the ASQ conference or contact a coach.

Photo credit:  Positive Attitude:  Auntie K

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

Gratitude Improves Performance and Resilience

Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday to remind us that a gratitude practice can be very powerful tool for improving health and well being as well as mental clarity.  This practice is so beneficial it is part of my daily practice, just like healthy eating.  It is an important part of building resilience.

Advanced research at theInstitute of HeartMath and elsewhere has provided evidence that gratitude is not simply a nice sentiment or feeling. Sustained feelings of gratitude have real benefits, including the following:

  • Biochemical changes – Favorable changes in the body’s biochemistry include improved hormonal balance and an increase in production of DHEA, the “anti-aging hormone.”
  • Increased positivity – Daily gratitude exercises can bring about a greater level of positive feelings, according to researchers from the University of Miami and the University of California, Davis who studied this process in 157 individuals over 13 days.
  • Boost to the immune system– The IgA antibody, which serves as the first line of defense against pathogens, increases in the body.
  • Emotional “compound interest” – The accumulated effect of sustained appreciation and gratitude is that these feelings, and coherence, are easier to recreate with continued practice. This is because experiencing an emotion reinforces the neural pathways of that particular emotion as it excites the brain, heart and nervous system. The downside is that you also can reinforce negative emotions.

TheInstitute of HeartMath is helping more people experience the benefits of the sincere feelings Thanksgiving celebrates by providing the following helpful appreciation exercise:

  • Instructions: Take a few short appreciation breaks during the day. During each break take one or two minutes to breathe deeply through the area of the heart. While doing so, try to hold a sincere feeling of appreciation in your heart area. This can be appreciation for a family member, friend who helped you with something or even a wonderful vacation, etc.
  • Why it works: The exercise of activating a positive feeling like appreciation literally shifts our physiology, helping to balance our heart rhythms and nervous system, and creates more coherence between the heart, brain and rest of the body.

The Heartmath Institute provides tools to measure the physiological impact of gratitude on your body.  I have used the emWave Personal Stress Reliever tool for two years now and have found it to be very helpful in monitoring my heart and stress level.

Gratitude is a simple and effective practice and the benefits are real and attainable.  It creates a healthier, happier and more fulfilling state of being for anyone who takes a few moments to feel and reflect on it. 

Photo credit:  libookperson

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.