How to become a modern Resilient Leader
In such an uncertain political time in the UK and its impact on the global economic situation there are a lot of people who are concerned and even scared about their future. Now, more than ever, they need strong leadership. They need leaders who have a calming influence and leaders who have the ability to empathise with their people and understand their concerns. They also need leaders who can assess the current situation, have a vision of the future, develop a plan and adapt it when they need to.
23 years ago I was lucky enough to join an organisation whose motto is “Serve to Lead”. The paradox can seem a little confusing at times until you are in a leadership role and then you fully understand that in that role you have a duty to serve your organisation and the people who are in it. Anything else is not leadership.
Leadership can be a lonely place to be at times, especially when people are scared and they look to you for the answer. The problem is you may also be scared and unsure of how to deal with the current situation. Demonstrating a little vulnerability is good as it shows you understand how others feel but too much is seen as weakness.
With all of this in mind I believe leaders today need 4 things.
- A high level of Emotional Intelligence
- Moral Courage
Emotional Intelligence (EQ)
Because having a high level of emotional intelligence or EQ enables you to understand and empathise with your people, make key decisions when under pressure, manage stress and keep focused on what you believe is important not just in your own life but in the life of your team.
First of all raise your awareness of your own emotional intelligence. The EQ-i 2.0® and the EQ 360® development tools are an excellent way to help you do this. When you understand where the gaps are you can develop the skills and behaviours to develop your EQ.
Leaders are expected to make the right decisions and to do the right thing even if it is not the popular thing to do. Strong guiding principles such as Integrity and Fairness should mean that leaders are able to make the right decisions and challenge the wrong ones.
Self awareness and a sense of purpose are essential, as is the ability to communicate in an assertive way, influence different types of people and negotiate effectively.
Because you will experience high and lows as a leader and probably more lows that highs in uncertain times. The ability to lift yourself and your team up, when you experience adversity, is the true sign of a leader. As General Stanley McChrystal, retired US Army general, said when discussing his views on leadership:
“You can get knocked down and it hurts and it leaves scars but if you’re a leader the people who you’ve counted on will help you up and if you are a leader the people who count on you need you on your feet”
Having a high level of emotional intelligence helps enormously in developing resilience, as does having a very clear sense of purpose and the ability to focus on what you can control, not obsessing about what is of concern.
It is important that you have a clear vision of where you would like you and your team to get to and that you communicate this to all involved. It is also important that you have a plan but things change on a daily basis and you need to be the sort of leader who is able to adapt without getting too stressed.
My previous article on leading change – “The Corporate Toolkit Part 1”, explains how to develop a vision and the stages you will need to go through to assess the future possibility and the current situation. Once you have established a well thought through vision and communicated it to your team it becomes your focus in a world of complexity. It is enduring no matter what the world throws at you. However the plan of how to achieve the vision (the strategy) needs to be flexible. Your main focus today may have to change tomorrow due to unforeseen circumstances outside of your control and you need to be agile enough to be able to adapt.
In summary, now is the time for strong leadership. Developing your EQ is fundamentally important if you are going to develop your resilience and agility. The good news is they are all skills and behaviours you can learn. For further information on how to develop as a Resilient Leader, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.