A “Resilient Leadership” Tip For Responding to Change

leadership

The past couple of years has been clearly showing us what resilient leadership looks like.  

It was not only the poorly prepared organizations that experienced a major challenge. Every single organization out there experienced the pandemic and had to adjust everything from policies and procedures to how employees work, the technology used, and how product was sold.  

We saw some organizations pivot quickly and others not, even within the same field.  

For example, we saw restaurants that confidently and quickly found their pivot. While it was not easy, within weeks they’d developed a robust carry-out business and actually used this time to improve. This improvement and growth may have looked like new menu items, cleaning and fixing up their restaurants, expanding their location, or employee training. 

Sadly, we also saw way too many restaurants go out of business. It’s possible they didn’t have any diversity among their funding or that their leaders could not see the possibility – the vision – through the chaos.

Resilient leadership does not mean…

  • We never get tired or overwhelmed.
  • We always speak perfectly, with kindness and clarity.
  • In every situation, we immediately welcome change and conflict and know how to handle it.
  • We never face challenges.

But, if we have been practicing our resilience, it can mean…

  • We lead with authenticity, not ego; building trust and respect through communication, vulnerability, and moral character.  
  • We learn the awareness needed to see the signs of overwhelm or exhaustion coming on and we care for ourselves and our employees sooner, rather than later.
  • We listen more than we talk.
  • We respond to change and conflict thoughtfully and decisively.  Because we are led by our values, there is more clarity around our forward path.

In the upcoming Resilient Leadership course series, we will be working our way through some of the key qualities that anyone can strengthen to develop their resilience and leadership.  

One of the main qualities we will practice is awareness.  If we want to respond with more clarity and thoughtfulness, we must first be aware of why we are responding harshly; or why we find ourselves mired in quicksand and unable to pivot, unable to make a decision.

One of the best ways to practice awareness is by developing our curiosity. There is a quote often attributed to Shunryu Suzuki that speaks to this. He says, “In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities; in the expert’s mind there are few.” When a big challenge has presented itself to us and we know it is going to cause change that we didn’t expect, or want, how can we begin to practice our curiosity?

Following are some great questions you can ask yourself to loosen up the tightness you are beginning to feel in your jaw or shoulders as you dread the decisions that need to be made.

  1. What am I feeling? Body? Mind?
  2. Why does this change worry me or make me feel anxious or off-center?
  3. What is the opportunity in this change?  How will it impact me?
    1. New skills? New connections? More time? 
  4. Why am I struggling to adapt to the change?
    1. Self-limiting beliefs?  I’m not _______ enough.
    2. Did I make assumptions or judgements about the change itself or the people who initiated it?
    3. Do I fully understand what’s behind the change?
    4. Am I finding it hard to move forward in a way that matches my values?
    5. Does the change align with my vision for this organization?  For my employees?

These questions can be asked as a writing exercise, a meditative exercise, or if we have a trusted peer, mentor, or confidant, perhaps even within a dialogue format. As a leader, we must take the time to find clarity around what troubles us and what excites us. We are looking for clarity and purpose.  

Join Christine in January’s Resilient Leadership course to learn many other ways you can intentionally develop your own personal resilient leadership plan; allowing you to move forward in your career with more confidence.

 

Christine Lustik, Laying Groundwork Instructor

Christine Lustik, Laying Groundwork Instructor,

Christine spent 14 years in leadership and the online education arena of higher education before transitioning to a role of helping teams- and the individuals in them- thrive. Christine works with leaders and teams who find themselves in a culture of stress, disconnection, overwhelm, and chaos. She teaches practices of Mindfulness and pro-active resilience to change the culture to one of connection, productivity, focus, and resiliency.

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