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Building resilience through the ranks

For a business to survive and thrive, it must be resilient. Effective leaders know that an organisation is only as good as its people, so that means fostering resilience at every level. Resilience isn’t about being immune to knocks and setbacks. It’s about recognising that they will happen and having the structure and tools in place to be able to deal with them.

As a leader, you must be aware of your own limitations and ensure you have a team of experts around you. There’s no such thing as a perfect all-rounder: even the strongest leaders have weak points. Resilience in leadership is about developing insight and emotional intelligence that gives you the ability to put together strong teams, and then trusting them to carry out their roles.

Positive leadership is essential for resilience. People need to know what they do well, to feel valued in their roles and have a real sense of ownership of what they’re doing. It starts with recognising that people have different performance styles as well as strengths, and putting together teams in which every member complements the other.

The structure of feedback is also incredibly important, and it should be given on an ongoing basis. Good leaders recognise that people need to give and receive feedback in different ways, so strong emotional intelligence is necessary in order to recognise, identify and adapt to each individual and support them in the ways that they will best react to.

Connect performance with outcomes, so people can see what they’re achieving rather than simply completing tasks. When individuals can see how they support and complement each other, they will perform as a much more resilient team.

The culture of an organisation must be developed with the same level of attention as a sales or operations strategy. It has to come from the top and filter all the way down. Encourage and welcome feedback and suggestions from teams and help people to develop with ongoing, in-role coaching.

This means having a strong structure in place that allows everyone to be involved. Some people perform well in meetings, others prefer to talk privately, some prefer to make suggestions over email. Every level of the organisation, every leader and manager, needs to be available to their teams in a way they will react positively to so they can be involved and add their own value to the goals and outcomes.

This isn’t something that can be achieved overnight: leaders need guidance from coaches or mentors, managers need to learn the skills and techniques needed to deliver performance-based coaching, and the whole workforce needs to know what’s expected from them in terms of culture and values of the organisation.

Positive leaders who recognise this and actively work towards it will help the business to perform on a more resilient footing.