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Seven Characteristics of Resilient Leaders

by Teri Aulph | April 09, 2019

Many things set great leaders apart from the rest. Often what sets extraordinary leaders apart is the ability to bounce back from setbacks. In a world that is continually presenting challenges and unexpected barriers, leaders must be resilient both personally and professionally.

Resilient people can utilize their skills and talents to overcome even the most cumbersome problems and challenges. These problems may include job loss, financial issues, illness, natural disasters, medical emergencies, or family tragedy. Instead of falling into despair or hiding from problems with unhealthy coping strategies, resilient leaders are able to face life’s difficulties without running as storms build. Instead, they are equipped with tools they can access when life is hurling lemons their way.

Lemons and the art of resilience

So What Are the Seven Characteristics of Resilient Leaders?

  1. Possessing a core set of unshakable beliefs. They have strong ethical standards and do not fear standing alone to adhere to these.
  2. Maintaining a positive outlook. Choosing to view the world through a lens of positive intent takes up space where self-doubt and apprehension might reside.
  3. Comfortable asking for help. When things go awry, resilient leaders know when to reach out for assistance. Building and maintaining a coalition of people who are resilient, as well as a group of experts in areas they may be lacking is the sign of an extraordinary leader who is confident in their ability to face anything that comes their way.
  4. Strong emotional intelligence. Leaders recognize the power of understanding their own emotions, as well as the feelings of others. In addition, they know their triggers and are prepared to manage strong emotions.
  5. Leverage every opportunity to learn. On a personal level, continuous learning is about the constant expansion of skills and skill-sets through learning and increasing knowledge. As life changes, the need to adapt both professionally and personally is as real as the changes themselves.
  6. The ability to move on. Extraordinary leaders understand the conversation they have with themselves is one of the most important. Dwelling on the negative immobilizes growth and the ability to push through adversity. The power of our thoughts can define how we choose to bounce back. Simply put, our thoughts drive our behavior.
  7. Prioritize physical, mental and emotional health. These leaders know that to always be at the top of their game, they must strive to be at their personal best. They understand the risk of stress from both a mental and physical strain, as well as the risk of derailing focus.

Resilience is an act of defiance. A moment of resilience is your chance as a leader to face adversity and say: “Not today. You will not slow my momentum or reduce my ability to make the most of this journey.” With deliberate discipline and practice, anyone can become better equipped to face and overcome obstacles.


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