"Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life"- J.K. Rowling
Today’s world of flux leaves us with no time to moan and little reason to groan. It only provides us with the opportunity to turn over and move on. As a child when there was a difficulty coming my way, my dad would say, “Be strong and you will get over this”. I understood, it was not about not encountering difficult times but it was about my perspective towards them that would make them easy. It was about not being limited by challenges, but about emerging more competent and confident to face setbacks in life. Resilience is all about adapting to adversity and bouncing back with personal mastery when setbacks strike.
In fact, the tenacity to bounce back faster, smarter and better is what sets people and organizations apart. Being resilient keeps cynicism, anxiety, burnout, disengagement and alienation at bay. It is a competency tempered with passion, purpose and positive power that helps to succeed during and beyond adversity.
Resilience in leaders
The litmus test of resilience in leaders is during trials and tribulations when they get opportunities to lead from the front. They earn respect as they brave frailties and vulnerabilities and emerge strong. They convert every trying moment into a learning one. While coaching team members, they make candid disclosures and share lessons from their failure and rebound stories.
Resilience in organizations
Resilience also manifests in organizational journeys towards thriving and flourishing beyond the tests of time. It helps build muscle and immunity to anticipate, take risks and respond. Organizations rebuild themselves by innovating, reinventing and even proactively changing their business strategies. For example, when Apple’s business was going through a rough patch, they introduced a whole new range of products in their portfolio which were brutally simple, strikingly beautiful and provided an amazing experience to their users. Even Microsoft hit the 1 trillion US Dollar mark during Satya Nadella’s tenure when they focused on nurturing a culture of growth and resilience, a culture where people stretched to explore possibilities and strived for accelerating customer centricity in profound ways. Resilience unifies people towards a strong shared purpose, instilling in them the ability to deal with business fluctuations, volatilities and downturns easy.
I propose a framework of B.O.U.N.C.E for building resilience in leaders and teams. This can be used to nurture a culture of resilience in organizations.
Resilience scores in harmony and balance. Balancing different aspects of life like career, family, fitness, health, finances, community makes life more fulfilling and rewarding. Recovery from trauma and stress becomes easy with a sense of equanimity. Recharging batteries helps people have goals for all roles. It makes them more centered to gain perspective on what is right and wise in life. Fundamental rules of making lifestyle changes provides a stable foundation for dealing with ebbs and flows of life. Drawing boundaries in relationships immensely helps in coping with demands both reasonable and unreasonable that come along the way. Championing holistic development, work -life integration and employee wellbeing can augment resilience.
A positive outlook towards life and events helps in viewing silver lining in dark clouds. Focusing on the positive produces a heliotropic effect, which makes circumstances appear less intimidating and worrisome. It propels life giving than life restraining forces. Leaders can enable their team members to move from victim to victor’s mindset by harnessing on positive self-efficacy. When they operate from victor’s mindset seeking growth, improvements and transformations with positivity results. Use of caring, congratulating, connecting messages by leaders can help create a positive impact on teams. Organizational cultures that focus on positive contagion through knowledge sharing and celebrating together during good times, turbo charge people with positive resolute to overcome bad times.
The worst of times can be overcome with best of moods. Visualization and vision of success can raise hope and belief in teams to overcome business volatilities. Compelling and cascading organizational visions helps people down the last mile find purpose and meaning in life, work and organizations. When leaders focus on getting lot more through strengths than little more by targeting weaknesses of people they enhance morale and motivation of their team members. Impetus on social orientation and employee volunteering also facilitate in building emotional maturity. They make leaders and teams humble and grounded enabling them to repair moods and look at the future with renewed energy. A culture of appreciation, gratitude and recognition works wonders to uplift people and instill courage.
Empowered teams are more adept at quick decision making and overcoming new and complex challenges with ease. Flexibility forges them to explore alternative choices. Nimble leaders make people willful to collaborate and skillful to learn. A future ready mindset serves as the best preparation for dealing with unpredictable and uncertain times. A culture of continuous learning through diverse blended learning interventions, shadowing, coaching, mentoring, action learning projects, lattice career paths, role rotations and cross functional teams help in developing people to thrive.
As leaders put team members in the pilot seat, they experience heightened self-awareness, strong sense of identity and immense significance at work. They pride in taking charge and display rare accountability of their lives, jobs and organizations. Bottom up communication and voice mechanisms can help employees feel engaged. As authentic leaders show openness and empathy, they instill confidence in teams to emerge from the shadows and take risks. Positive self-efficacy helps build will power in teams to do and way power to decide which course of action to choose to deal with intense and unreasonable demands.
The core of resilience lies in mental, emotional and psychological tenacity to deal with stressful situations. Endurance in leaders provides them inner strength to remain dedicated and not quit during tough times. It manifests in discipline and tranquility not to get distracted and strive till the end. Organizations can give cognizance to both efforts and outcomes in performance management systems to hone endurance. When leaders stand tall and walk the talk in difficult times, they demonstrate lessons in resilience.
Building a resilient culture using the B.O.U.N.C.E framework will be a journey. It’s about nurturing the ability to constructively and positively deal with times before, during and after the fall. It’s a reserve which will help teams and organizations manage breaks and bends. Stories of thriving, flourishing and growth can be built on the foundation of resilience. Resilient organizations will be able to pace, race and ace using both inside -out and outside in perspectives effectively. Nurturing resilience will create and supports vitality in teams. Resilient leaders can play role of positive energizers and be instrumental in enhancing connection and collaboration quotients too. Resilience will augment a start-up ability in organizations to start, stop and continue with ease when dealing with setbacks.