Resilient Leadership: The Power of Presence

Success at work relies on your capacity to cope and even thrive when faced with stress. The good news is that resilience is a skill, and that practice can help you manage your presence.

Despite the fact that 96% of organizations are in some stage of transformation, 57% say they are “weak” at helping leaders manage difficult schedules and information flow. It’s not surprising, then, that 80% of American workers feel stressed on the job. Today, success at work relies on your capacity to cope and even thrive when faced with stress. More than experience or training, resilience in the face of stressful situations and rapid changes determines whether you ultimately succeed or fail in the workplace.

In a recent webinar, NOBL Canada Managing Directors Erin Cooper and Sarah Dickinson discussed how to increase your resilience, which is one of the key skills involved in leading teams through change:

  • Self-Mastery. Self-mastery involves not only knowing yourself (self-awareness) but also your ability to regulate your reactions and behaviors. Leaders who demonstrate self-mastery are more willing to make and admit mistakes and role model positive behavior that is critical in a changing environment.
  • Empathy. The ability to stand in the shoes of others and see the world through their eyes. Showing empathy with your teams is especially important during times of change given that people respond to change in different ways, and helps people feel valued and seen.
  • Trust. Trust involves displaying confidence in others, relying on them to do what is expected, and remaining consistent in what others can expect from you. Building trust creates a safe environment where everyone’s opinion matters, and mistakes are allowed – for the collective growth of the team.
  • Resilience. The ability to cope positively with stress, uncertainty, and setbacks. Resilience provides the ability to recover quickly from change or hardship.

The good news is that it’s possible to learn habits and strategies to increase hardiness. Furthermore, by developing effective strategies for reducing vulnerability to stress and the impact of adversity, it is possible to strengthen and develop personal resilience. In particular, it’s crucial to develop presence: that is, how to cultivate mindfulness, awareness and choice in relation to self and others. There are four types of presence:

  • Physical. Healthy habits such as regular sleep, stress-management, good nutrition, and activity impact our basic energy sources, and our ability to manage our emotions and think clearly.
  • Mental. Mental presence is connected to how well we can focus. When it’s high, we’re able to think quickly and clearly, accurately and creatively.
  • Emotional. When people are able to be more mindful of their emotions, they can maintain the quality of their mood and how they show up with others. 
  • Narratives. How resilient employees perceive their occupation and day-to-day tasks also sets them apart. Those who feel like their toll is in an endeavor to achieve a valuable outcome are going to be better equipped to bounce back when work is particularly stressful.

Leaders must set aside time to reflect and learn from mistakes, as well as develop a support system and self-care rituals which replenish these types of presence. For a lively discussion, more practical tips, and more information, watch the full webinar, or take a look at the slides.

Published January 24, 2020

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