During the course of a normal life, almost everyone faces at least one or more times a very painful or stressful event (the death of a relative, the loss of a friend, a duel, a physical or sexual assault, a potentially traumatic injury mortal…). Resilience is precisely that ability to resist that situation and get ahead adapting to life again in a normal way.
The degree to which stress and resilience affects people varies from individual to individual. However, understanding how to best face challenges and pressure is something we all need at different times in our lives.
In general and after a resilient experience, people can experience growth in different ways. Some speak of greater personal strength, that is, they believe that they are emotionally and psychologically stronger than before their trauma. Others talk about discovering a new way of life or a new philosophy about life that was not present before. Some people describe positive changes in their relationships as a result of their trauma, such as greater openness and self-disclosure and greater emotional connection with others. Others talk about changing the priorities of life and a greater appreciation of the small things of it. Finally, a previous research on post-traumatic growth has found that some people declare a greater spirituality or find faith as a result of their trauma.
We know that there is a link between negative emotions and memory, with the most outstanding memories deposited in our brains in times of adversity. However, the key to building resilience in difficult times is to get psychologically closed, or find a way to see difficult experiences as opportunities to learn and grow.
Resilience is directly proportional to the positive emotions of individuals. People who report resilience present lively and energetic approaches to life, and are curious and open to new experiences (Masten, 2001, Tugade, vd. 2004). Resilient people not only cultivate positive emotions in themselves, but also transmit positive emotions to others.
I do not agree at all, however, with many psychologists and writers who say that “you come out stronger from experience”. None of those I have read have gone through a traumatic situation in order to prove for themselves the absurdity of that statement nor do I accept what Nietzsche said: “Whatever does not kill me makes me strong”.
From my own experience, twice practically killed by medical negligence-malpractice and also years after an inexplicable accident that left me 5 minutes in cardiac arrest, I can say that the frustration, impotence and subsequent consequences were not something that reinforced me but something with what I had to deal with at the time and with the consequences that it has left me for the rest of my life, forcing me to strive much more physically and psychologically.
Of course it is not necessary to go through situations close to death to be resilient as life also puts us in another type of psychological traumatic challenges in which we must demonstrate a superior strength and a flexible spirit to overcome them.
I do not want to dwell on this section on a personal level and I will go to the professional level of which I can also speak properly.
Resilience is a complex, multidimensional and common buzzword that is often used in leadership training. It is a set of skills that we can improve with knowledge, self-awareness and learning with our own experiences. It is rapidly growing in popularity across a broad spectrum of disciplines, including business, public policy and performance psychology. It can refer to the ability to withstand disruptive shocks, manage complexity and recover from difficult times. But it also implies evolution, agility and long-term thinking.
Building companies, communities and resilient systems requires a different kind of leader, one who has a broad knowledge of the risks and opportunities faced by companies, who is adept at interacting with a variety of stakeholders and demonstrates flexibility and commitment to ethics and the impact.
Companies today face increasing pressures from many corners. One of the most important is the rapidly evolving technological space in which companies operate today. New technologies are emerging or are being adapted to create new modalities and it is their leaders who today face more challenges and at faster intervals. Digital technology in the form of social networks makes it easier for people who oppose an idea or initiative to express their opinions with more people much more quickly.
Corporate resilience is the collective ability of an organization to quickly adapt to disruptions to standard business operations and return to normal or near-normal conditions with little or no downtime. Resilient organizations rarely suffer when faced with these challenges, with little or no loss of operational functionality and efficiency.
When done well, the link between corporate culture, resilience and business continuity helps not only maintain operations but also retain customers and build trust among customers.
Leaders begin to realize that resilience is not just a resource they must develop on their own. Leaders play a key role in fostering it in others. The Leadership Resilience Profiler ™ reports offer personalized development tips based on the results of the individual leader’s profile. The strategies provide leaders with a personalized, practical and proactive approach to resilience in an integrated manner that they can apply personally and in the workplace.
The workplace can often be a very stressful environment, where projects can fail and criticisms can be freely distributed. Resilience is one of the key attributes of leadership having the leader inspire and motivate others to implement that attitude in their lives and there is a growing consensus that it is a key quality today, more than ever, for at least two reasons : volume and speed.
Also, there is nothing more stressful than being isolated as a leader in an organization. Disconnecting completely is a key part of staying resilient. More than physical activity or immediate distraction, it is about creating a lifestyle that allows you to maintain your work rhythm under pressure in a sustainable manner.
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and be more, you are a leader. “- John Quincy Adams
When it comes to leading with resilience it is important to familiarize ourselves with the concept of “self-realization” by Abraham Maslow who discovered that people who do it tend to be more creative, spontaneous and with a greater sense of humor while maintaining a precise perception of reality. .
Resilience is also one of the four parts of Psychological Capital, which are productive capacities designed to be trained to increase the well-being of employees. The application of these four capabilities can encourage lower stress levels and increase performance in the workplace: Trust, Purpose, Social support and Adaptability.
Confidence: Resilient people tend to trust their own abilities. They focus on what they do well rather than what they fight, and celebrate their accomplishments
Purpose: Resilient people have a clear sense of purpose: their “why” for life. They work towards their objectives with the greatest persistence, solving any problem that arises because failure is not an option. Resilient people have mastered this trait and allowed them to continually put one foot in front of the other.
Social Support: Resilient people maintain relationships with family, friends and people with whom they connect to share the burdens and triumphs of life. They also feel comfortable when they need help because they value the support of others.
Adaptability: Resilient people are adaptable and flexible. They understand that some things are beyond their control, and choose their battles wisely. They manage well with the change because they see it as part of the path of life, and embrace it instead of fighting against it. Optimism plays a key role in that adaptability.
The resilient leaders are determined. They are dedicated to increasing their self-awareness and increasing their capacity for recovery throughout their career. They do not stop when they reach a certain level. They make a commitment for life that requires work and a diligent approach to progress over time.
Resilient leaders strategically use the art of stress and recovery. Jim Loehr speaks brilliantly about this in Stress for Success. Stress is fundamental to any growth we desire, whether we focus on a physical or mental muscle, and it must be followed by recovery. Unfortunately, we often do not allow our emotional and mental muscles to recover in the same way that we do with our physical muscles.
Resilient leaders do the following:
- They are clear about a broader purpose and reflect on it often.
- They clearly know their values and do not compromise with them.
- They use stress to grow and have habitual recovery routines to which they stick.
- They take care of all their being: physical, mental and emotional.
- They do not try to prove their value or be indispensable, they are focused on proving the value of others.
- They have a positive and non-judgmental internal trainer who is curious, compassionate and lives in possibility.
- They look for perspectives and ideas that do not align with theirs. They even get inspired by others.
- They do not inflate or deflate their own worth, they are compassionately confident.
- Becoming a resilient leader means spending more time exercising the rational, intelligent and creative side of the brain, and less timein a reactive, fighter or flight mode. It means better decision making and a more significant impact on others, and results in greater satisfaction and well-being.
I have led a great company in my life during the Gulf War, while others closed and huge amounts of jobs were cut, I found myself in moments of great loneliness before what decisions to make, attacks towards my professionalism that tried to knock me down and make me leave but , above all, I had to deal with a huge health situation while continuing to fulfill my obligations as a professional while learning again to walk after two years of rehabilitation after a bad practice in a simple operation.
Let’s try to think about this skill and practice it mentally throughout life to be prepared for the setbacks it gives us and, above all, when it usually occurs unexpectedly, surprisingly with impacts that cause uncertainty, lack of control and pain.