Leaders today are not only navigating geopolitical challenges but are also battling with a skills crisis, recruitment shortages and their own wellbeing in challenging times. So, how do we maintain resilience and empathetic leadership in a fast-changing world? Laura Spears, Head of People and Operations at Marbral Advisory, investigates.
The past three years have seen changes of national and global significance. From Brexit to the global pandemic, the war in Ukraine, and the cost-of-living crisis, not to mention the ever-increasing risk of climate tipping points. It seems the only certainty at present is that things are very uncertain.
As I write this article, leaders from around the world are meeting in Egypt for COP27. We hope our leaders, innovators and experts will come up with answers and commitments, showing resilience and the ability to adapt to mounting environmental risks and pressures.
Resilience is defined as ‘the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness’. It is often thought of as the ability to adapt to change positively, recover from difficulties and persist in facing challenges. It’s about growing stronger, not weaker after life gives you lemons.
As people climb the career ladder and move into more demanding and challenging roles, it is easy to assume that they have a high level of resilience by virtue of the fact that they have achieved a certain level of success…. but is this always the case?
Leaders are only human, and, like everyone, they have the potential to feel isolated. The expectation that they will have all the answers, the anxiety of significant repercussions for a wrong decision and mounting pressure in ever-changing economic climates can all result in periods of self-doubt and feelings of isolation and loneliness.
As Charles Darwin famously said “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, not the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.” So how can we equip individuals with the tools and techniques to overcome these challenges and be the most effective, productive and resilient leaders?
Our fast-paced lives, and the constant stream of demands, mean that we can forget to focus on ourselves. Knowing your strengths, understanding how your experience of challenge or change has shaped your responses and decision making, and picking up blind spots where you might need support, is an important step towards becoming a resilient leader.
Understanding the business environment is critical to being able to perform well during times of change. To achieve a true understanding of your environment, it is important to gain perspective from all corners of the business, especially people with opposing viewpoints to your own.
Empower leadership throughout the business and support your teams to engage and input into
decision making. Inclusive leaders who encourage independent thinking stand to benefit from the vast pool of ingenuity within their organisation. Try creating forums, hosting workshops, providing training and enabling your workforce to truly contribute - you do not need to do this alone.
A trusted and reliable sounding board can prove an invaluable asset, particularly during times of challenge. Having access to valuable insights and experience as well as objective and impartial advice
should be part of any leaders, or aspiring leaders, toolkit. The ICF Global Consumer Awareness Study found that people who worked with a coach reported common positive benefits including:
1. Improved communication skills (42%)
2. Increased self-esteem/self-confidence (40%)
3. Increased productivity (39%)
4. Optimised individual/team performance (38%)
5. Improved work/life balance (34%)
Making sure you consider your own wellbeing, as well as understanding the wellbeing needs of your people, is vital. Incorporate tools and techniques, such as those offered by www.myanova.com, to measure workplace wellbeing and provide insights and interventions to make sure wellbeing informs individual and business decisions.