29 May Resilient Leadership in a Nutshell
Insight, mastery, connection and influence
Resilience searches are booming and many definitions exist. We believe it is a learned ability to demonstrate bounce, courage, connection and creativity. This set of skills is closely interrelated. Bounce requires courage, connection and creativity. Equally, creativity requires bounce, courage and connection. While interrelated, cultivating resilient leadership is a journey that requires insight, dedication and deliberate practice. It takes time.
To help leaders navigate the journey we use a developmental model that captures this complexity in a simple spiral:
- When operating at the top end of the spiral leaders are energised, skilful and effective. People and teams deliver
- When leaders collapse down the spiral they are compromised and flailing. People and teams struggle
- Insight is the base competence allowing leaders to recognise their state, vulnerabilities and strengths
- Mastery is the capacity to bounce fast, stay calm, maintain wellbeing, engage emotion, apply the mind, and access Flow
- Connection is the ability to read others accurately and recognise their experience, feeling and thoughts
- Influence is the ability to work skilfully with others to support, enable and inspire effective work and lives.
Biology underpins resilient leadership
Biology (physiology and neuroscience) provides us with a detailed understanding of the mechanisms that define levels of resilience. We know what happens when we spiral downward and what defines expertise. We can clearly define the set of skills that allow for bounce, courage, connection and creativity. Each one of these skills can be learned and mastered with deliberate practice. Expertise can be measured with biofeedback, success and 360 reviews.
In our complex and accelerated workplace, surviving and thriving will depend upon these skills. Proven in elite sport, performing arts and combat, this training is now available for leaders and professionals. It already presents in safety, wellbeing, emotional intelligence, and cognitive training. Resilience simply binds these part-solutions into an integrated model and method.
Think a little and practice a lot
Our key message for leaders is overcome the cognitive trap. Some think that sitting in a workshop and learning the ideas will solve the challenge. It won’t!
Resilient leadership demands deliberate, purposeful practice. Cultivate expertise in the specific, challenging situations you face as a leader. We must draw on our genes, experience and motivations, and engage in repetitive practice. Seek the guidance of skilled coaches, mentors and experts. There are many paths to expertise. Some will be mastered with ease and others will test you. Learn to play to your strengths. Team with those who can complement you.
Plan, schedule and execute your practice. Be patient. Enjoy the wins. Discipline delivers freedom.