Leadership Soft-Skills: Resilience
Posted by Orrin Woodward on February 20, 2013
The fourth leadership soft-skill, according to the Center for Creative Leadership, is resiliency – the ability to bounce back from adversity. Resiliency is essential for any leadership endeavor because any worthwhile activity is filled with setbacks and disappointments. However, with resiliency, leaders are strengthened by the setbacks because the obstacles force them to make the needed changes to overcome and win. In the process, the leaders become better personally and professionally, which in truth, is the real reward for the leadership journey anyway. Unfortunately, many would-be leaders fall for the fallacy that leadership should be easy or they must not be cut from the leadership mold. Nothing could be further from the truth! In fact, it’s only when a potential leader realizes how poor his current leadership abilities are, through experiencing numerous failures, that he exercises his resilience by confronting reality, making changes, and pressing forward.
One of the biggest lies, propagated throughout our culture, is that people are either naturally gifted at leadership or naturally ungifted. This dreary belief system has deluded many good people, who tried to lead and failed, to surrender their responsibility to lead in life. Indeed, I believe many of the world’s greatest potential leaders were never developed because they swallowed this whopper of lies. Nonetheless, the LIFE Business rejects this dismal world-view; teaching instead, that everyone has leadership abilities when hunger and courage are added to the LIFE training system of reading, listening, associating, and implementing. There are hundreds of examples of men and women, who didn’t believe they could lead, who now, through their faith and convictions, lead hundreds, and some thousands, of people.
Leadership isn’t chance; it’s choice. Consequently, resilience is displayed when a person chooses to get back up after the world has knocked him flat on his back. If a person chooses to stay down, he shouldn’t blame the program, plans, or Providence; rather, it’s in the lack of purpose that ultimately leads to the lack of resilience. Several years back, I developed a quote to capture the essence of resilience, “A person either hates losing enough to change, or he hates changing enough to lose.” I HATE losing and when life knocks me down, which it has many times, I use the “down” time to reflect on what I can learn from this failure and why I need to get back up and run again. This is the KEY to leadership! Develop the plan; get knocked down; learn the lessons, get up and run again! PDCA. How simple to understand and yet how difficult to implement.