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Coaching Article – Which Leadership Behaviors Bounce Back Better?

by Lee Ellis

Going through tough times that seem impossible. Pushing through a challenge with unrelenting determination. Simply not giving up when you want to call it quits. Doing things that you don’t feel like doing in order to achieve your goal. What personally comes to mind when you think about resilience? What’s your frame of reference?

POW Resilience

Resilience was a matter of life and death for the Vietnam POWs. For our families back home, resilience was the only way they could have a life.

There were numerous reasons we POWs were able to resist, endure torture, and bounce back. First of all, we were a competitive and optimistic group. But much of what enabled us to hang in there for 5, 6, 7, or 8 years related to our sense of duty. Duty, the indispensable attribute taught in virtually every leadership training program, is built on a foundation of faithfulness, character, responsibility, and commitment.

We were resilient because we were faithfully committed to each other and to our country.

The Fuel of Resilience at Work

“Resilience empowered by duty is vital to all organizational success.” [Tweet This]

In our leadership and team training work every day, we use the insight of natural behavior to help people understand themselves and others better. When using an assessment report like Leadership Behavior DNA and its related Style Groups, leaders can quickly assess that a Strategist style may be well-equipped to bounce back but they must soften their interpersonal skills to keep from alienating others; and the Reflective Thinker style needs to be heard and affirmed that their unique insight and expertise could help the entire organization bounce back from a challenge.

Think of a few scenarios where resilience is needed. In the face of an economic slump or competitive challenge, a business leader may have to struggle tenaciously for profitability, and even survival. An organizational layoff may force the remaining employees to persevere under a heavier workload. A manager with an unprofessional boss may have to shield other employees from irrational decisions and hostile behaviors, while still remaining loyal.

A Story of Resilience

One COO with whom I worked had to navigate through a professional minefield. She wanted to remain completely loyal to her boss, but she found herself regularly challenging him about questionable decisions that were undermining the foundation of the organization and draining energy from the leadership team. Eventually, however, the CEO’s poor judgment crossed the line in several areas, resulting in his removal.

Because this COO had exhibited such a strong sense of duty and loyalty throughout this period, the organization continued to perform at a high level during a very stressful time. As is often the case, the resilience of this one person was crucial to the resilience of the organization.

3 Insights About Resilience

Overall though, what are the critical points of resilience that are needed during challenging times to emerge with victory?

  1. Life is a battle, and we all get knocked down. The challenge is to stay in the battle and fight to get back on your feet. It’s hard to defeat someone who won’t quit.
  2. You must believe in yourself. There are cycles and seasons, and we all go through ups and downs. You must believe that you can work through the challenges that come your way.
  3. You can’t fight this battle alone. POWs learned that isolation is a powerful weapon of the enemy. Have people around you who will encourage you—speaking truth into your life about who you are and how valuable you are.

Authentic leaders know that life is difficult. They expect to get knocked down, and they have the proper attitude and outlook to persevere. You have a choice about how you will respond to difficulties. Confront the brutal realities of your situation, but never give up hope. Develop your plan, connect with your support team, and bounce back. Please share your stories and experience below.

LE [Tweet This Article]

Free Resilience Checklist Infographic

We’ve created the free “Resilience Checklist” infographic to help pinpoint some of the 12 areas that you can strengthen in your personal development.

Download Your Copy

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This package combines the latest book, Leadership Behavior DNA, along with the personalized report that forms the basis for the book! Read step-by-step as the book help you understand and interpret the results from your personal report – The Behavioral Leadership Package includes:

  1. The Leadership Behavior DNA book – Along with training the reader on the most important tenants of leadership, it also goes deep into the explaining the 8 Factors and 16 Traits that form the bedrock for helping manage the differences in yourself and others.
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