Resilience: that ability to bounce back from adversity. It is what allows you to recover from change or hardship, whether in the workplace or life in general.

As a leader, you can change your views, habits, and responses by modifying your thoughts and actions, which will help broaden your outlook and become less narrowly focused – and more able to adapt to change.

To become more resilient, center on these 8 areas:

Infographic: 8 steps to resiliency

1. Accept change. Find ways to become more comfortable with change. Change is constant and inevitable, and you can be successful if you accept it rather than resist it.

2. Become a continuous learner. Learn new skills, gain new understandings, and apply them during times of change. Do not hold onto old behaviors and skills, especially when it’s obvious that they don’t work anymore.

3. Take charge. Embrace self-empowerment. Take charge of your own career and your own development. Don’t expect someone else to guide the way.

4. Find your sense of purpose. Develop a “personal why” that gives your work meaning or helps you put it into a larger context. A clear sense of purpose helps you to assess setbacks within the framework of a broader perspective.

5. Pay attention to self-identity. Form your identity apart from your job. A job is just one facet of your identity, and a career is just one aspect of your life. Separate who you are from what you do.

6. Cultivate relationships. Develop and nurture a broad network of personal and professional relationships. Personal relationships create a strong base of support — a critical element in achieving goals, dealing with hardships and developing perspective.

7. Reflect.Whether you’re riding a success or enduring a hardship, make time for reflection. Reflection fosters learning, new perspectives, and a degree of self-awareness that can enhance your resiliency.

8. Skill shift. Question (and even change) your definition of yourself or your career. Reframe how you see your skills, talents, and interests. By casting your skills in a new light, you can see how they might shift into new patterns of work and behavior.

Has resiliency been a difficult or effortless trait for you to acquire as a leader? Why?

[This post originally published Aug. 9, 2012.]

9 thoughts on “8 Steps to Resiliency

  1. Joan Henshaw says:

    Great tips here on building resilience. I would also add ‘stop trying to be perfect’. In my experience one of the reasons many leaders and managers don’t feel confident or resilient in their role is because they are afraid of making mistakes, of not being the ‘perfect leader or manager’. The need to be the perfect leader or manager is a belief that will rarely serve you well. The good news is – as your blog highlights – that beliefs can be changed, or in this case, ditched altogether! (after all – who really wants to work for the ‘perfect’ leader or manager?)

    Joan Henshaw

    The Managing Employee Performance Coach

    1. Leading Effectively Staff says:

      Hi Joan. Great addition to add to this list. It is often the ways in which leaders handle and recover from their mistakes that best prove their abilities and true character.

  2. Joan Henshaw says:

    Great tips here on building resilience. I would also add ‘stop trying to be perfect’. In my experience one of the reasons many leaders and managers don’t feel confident or resilient in their role is because they are afraid of making mistakes, of not being the ‘perfect leader or manager’. The need to be the perfect leader or manager is a belief that will rarely serve you well. The good news is – as your blog highlights – that beliefs can be changed, or in this case, ditched altogether! (after all – who really wants to work for the ‘perfect’ leader or manager?)

    Joan Henshaw

    The Managing Employee Performance Coach

    1. Leading Effectively Staff says:

      Hi Joan. Great addition to add to this list. It is often the ways in which leaders handle and recover from their mistakes that best prove their abilities and true character.

  3. It may be semantics (as I think that I agree with the spirit of this ‘area’ of the post), but I see trouble in separating “who you are from what you do.” Who you are should drive what you do, not the other way around, but the relationship is of course in reality reciprocal. I think the intent here is to say that your identity should not be driven entirely by your workplace or career. Yet fulfillment comes from pursuing congruence with core values and beliefs in every aspect of your life, including your job, where – lets be honest – many of us spend the majority of our waking moments.

    Great to see the relaunch of this blog!

    1. Leading Effectively Staff says:

      Thanks for your insightful comment, Rian. Sounds like you have followed this blog for a while now. Thank you for continuing to be a valued member of our community!

  4. It may be semantics (as I think that I agree with the spirit of this ‘area’ of the post), but I see trouble in separating “who you are from what you do.” Who you are should drive what you do, not the other way around, but the relationship is of course in reality reciprocal. I think the intent here is to say that your identity should not be driven entirely by your workplace or career. Yet fulfillment comes from pursuing congruence with core values and beliefs in every aspect of your life, including your job, where – lets be honest – many of us spend the majority of our waking moments.

    Great to see the relaunch of this blog!

    1. Leading Effectively Staff says:

      Thanks for your insightful comment, Rian. Sounds like you have followed this blog for a while now. Thank you for continuing to be a valued member of our community!

  5. Luigi Scornaienchi says:

    Great summary towards personal effectiveness and leadership. A couple of things I’d add is that at an organizational level, it resonates so strongly to include front line and junior employees in an organization with this discipline and knowledge – It can inspire. Related to this is how we then hold one another accountable…there are many ways, simple and formal, and in them, we not only support the 8 steps, but create the synergy towards enhanced relationships, engagement, vulnerability, growth and trust.

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