JANUARY 7, 2019

Resilience: A Key Component of Leadership

Resilience: A Key Component of Leadership

By Dr. Kelly Flores

We’ve all been in challenging situations that shake our resolve: Health or financial issues, disappointing news, working with difficult people, unexpected feedback. The list goes on…

The question is not whether we will experience some or all of these things. The question is when will we experience these things? And how will we respond when these things happen?

Folkman (2017) released new research from 500 executives that revealed that resilient leaders respond by being coachable, being decisive, and being bold risk takers. They also respond by communicating powerfully, building positive/trusting relationships, developing others, and championing change.

“The true grit of a leader is not how they perform during the good times but rather how they display emotional strength, courage and professionalism during the most trying times” (Modglin, 2017, para. 3).

A Leader’s Response

How will we respond in the most trying times? Will we give into “paralysis by analysis”? Will we allow ourselves to continuously replay the tapes of negative self-talk? Will we bottle up the emotions until we explode (or implode)? Will we shut down? Will we find comfort in our vices? Will we dwell on the past and on the ‘what ifs’, the ‘back thens’, and ‘could’ve beens’?

Or will we be resilient like the bamboo…

Practically speaking, as leaders, being resilient like the bamboo means that…

Like the bamboo who builds its roots underground for five years before its first shoot breaks through, as leaders, we need to take time to dig deep and engage in reflective practices so we can be rooted, flexible, and adaptable. As leaders, we need to prepare ourselves for the inevitable challenges that could otherwise break us and tempt us to give up.

Let us be like the bamboo…

Dr. Kelly Flores serves as the Dean for two schools, including the School of Applied Leadership at City University of Seattle. As a professor of leadership studies, she enjoys engaging in rich discussions with scholars and leaders in the Ed.D. in Leadership program.


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