June 16


Next Level Leadership Attribute #2: Resilient

By Sara Canaday

June 16, 2015

career success, emotional intelligence, executive, high potentials, leadership, professional success, resilience

This is part of a series about the attributes and behaviors of professionals who have elevated their leadership impact and reached the next level of success. To read previous posts about next-level leadership, please click here.

Today’s global economy calls for some serious staying power. Consider the diverse obstacles facing corporate employees: cost cutting, downsizing, shorter time-to-market cycles, constantly evolving strategies, incessant competition, and the endless demand for creativity and innovation. When companies search for their up-and-coming leaders, resilience is a must-have attribute. Those who can navigate through uncertainty, handle change, move forward despite ambiguity, apply effective coping strategies, face adversity with courage and bounce back are more likely to be tapped for those coveted positions in upper management.

What types of behaviors and characteristics can be found among truly resilient leaders?

• Readily adapt to new and changing circumstances
• Remain calm and poised under pressure
• Bring a sense of control to uncertain situations by taking positive action
• Use daily circumstances to generate resilient strategies and solutions
• Avoid ruminating over problems and less than favorable conditions
• Place challenging events or setbacks in the broader context of things
• Understand how habitual ways of thinking (positive or negative) impact feelings and actions
• Take time to consider what might be lurking around the corner and use early warning signs to mitigate upheaval
• Model adaptability by not hanging on to existing routines, methods and processes when better options emerge
• Align themselves with people who handle stress successfully and use that network as a support system for advice and guidance

How do you rate on the resilience scale? Think about these attributes and ask yourself some key questions. Can I easily adjust my course or do I tend to resist change? Do I focus more on problems and stress rather than opportunities and solutions?

If your resilience skills need a little boost, create an action plan for improvement. Pay attention to how long it typically takes you to recover from setbacks, and be intentional about reducing that time. Instead of stressing over the need to make fault-free decisions, adjust your process to include making a series of micro-decisions that allow you to test and react to their impact. Practice remaining calm in tense situations. Strive to set a good example of adaptability for your colleagues and co-workers, balancing productivity with creativity to meet daily demands.

By deliberately incorporating these attributes of resilience, you’ll be positioning yourself as someone who is ready for the inevitable challenges of next-level leadership. Let me know what you think!

Coming soon…Next-Level Leadership Attribute #3: Strategic.

For more information about this topic, I invite you to read, “Wake Up! The Surprising Truth about What Causes Stress and How Leaders Build Resilience”, by my friend and colleague Nick Petrie. Nick is a Senior Faculty member at the Center for Creative Leadership, where he facilitates customized programs for senior-level executives and writes extensively about future trends in leadership development.

Sara Canaday

About the author

Sara began her journey working full-time while she earned an MBA. As she climbed the ladder of corporate America, she repeatedly observed a surprising phenomenon: the most successful people weren’t necessarily the ones with the highest IQ or best job skills. She recognized instead that career advancement was much more closely linked with how people applied their knowledge and talents — their capacity to collaborate, communicate, and influence others.

Today, Sara is happily fulfilling that commitment as a keynote speaker, author, and executive coach. These venues have given her the opportunity to mentor and support thousands of people in diverse situations, inspiring many of them to move from insight to action with dramatic career results.

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