Leaders need to move from resignation to resilience

by HCA23 Sep 2009

How do leaders create organisations that will emerge better than before the GFC? Leaders need to look beyond the tough times for opportunities in the current climate, keep an unwavering eye on their strategic objectives and use their values in decision making. Leaders who succeed after experiencing adversity all have a trait in common - resilience.

Cris Popp, program director, Mt Eliza Executive Education, part of Melbourne Business School said, "Resilient leaders are able to look for the silver lining in any situation, which enables them to view the current economic crisis not as an impediment to growth but rather as an opportunity for their organisations."

"It can be hard when you're in the thick of it but we need to remember that adversity makes us great. Would Abraham Lincoln or Nelson Mandela be the people they were without facing and overcoming adversity? Would Qantas have spun off Jetstar and re-educated consumers on the value they provide if it hadn't been for the advent of Virgin? Would IBM be the multinational it is now if it hadn't nearly succumbed to the competition a few times?," he added.

Learning how to recover and build personal and professional resilience pays dividends for the long term ─ it's not about surviving but learning and adapting in a world of constant change.

How do leaders become resilient? Resilient people demonstrate six competencies* which play out as adversity unfolds:

Circumstances - Accept what's not working before it's possible to craft a solution.
Direction - Set a direction by moving towards a goal (resilient) instead of moving away from discomfort (avoidance).
Community - Make decisions for the greater good and rely on help when required.
Friends & Strangers - Be open to external influences and turn towards others in stressful times.
Self - See yourself as bigger than the problem, use a strong sense of values and be optimistic about the future.
Adversity - Look for the opportunity in every adverse event, rebound and come back better than before.
Resilience Compass™

Resilient leaders display a fundamentally different outlook.

"They move from trying to overcome change to accepting the inevitability of turmoil and welcoming the opportunities that always accompany change for both their teams and organisations. Learning about and adopting this outlook will help leaders move from resignation to resilience," said Popp.


  • by Ricky Nowak 25/09/2009 12:19:00 PM

    , "Resilient leaders are able to look for the silver lining in any situation, which enables them to view the current economic crisis not as an impediment to growth but rather as an opportunity for their organisations." That is critical in moving through challenging times, but let us ask ourselves why does it take a crisis to sometimes look for opportunities or for us to really seeing the value of things when they are in front of us all the time anyway. Here’s what I mean...

    When the bush fire inferno in early February wiped the financial crisis off the front pages, it changed our conversations and attitudes from the value of money to the value of human lives. It immersed us in stories far deeper and more compelling because it was close to home and we reached voluntarily and effortlessly into a mental place temporarily forgotten while consumed by the continuing shock of the next business disaster.

    It demonstrated that we had not forgotten what was important, not forgotten about people, and that we did have time and the capacity to give and receive. I guess the hard part comes now as business is recovering and people are getting back to business as usual– how do we access that place again that enables us to bringing the right energy into the workplace and be responsible for creating the workplace that will reward us personally as well as professionally. Read my article Resilient Relationships at http://rickynowak.com/docs/ResilientRelationships.pdf

  • by Meiron Lees 26/09/2009 12:29:14 PM

    The more resilient we are the less stress affects us and the more resilient our business is the less it will be impacted by the current environment.

    Managing ourselves is the key determinant to how we feel and the way we impact others. Remaining optimistic and keeping stress at bay has become more relevant than ever in this turbulent environment.
    Resilient leadership is about instilling confidence, enthusiasm and optimism in the midst of uncertainty. To find out more about "Resilience Builders" take a look at the book D-Stress, Building Resilience in Challenging Times at www.innercents.com.au

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