3 Steps to Resilient Leadership

By Heather Campbell

ResilienceBy Heather Campbell >>

Resilience is a major predictor of personal success, a critical element separating the winners from the also-rans in life and business. Resilience is also a critical element in successful communication, separating those who get their messages heard and the results they require from those who leave mixed messages, misunderstanding and hurt feelings.

Resilience in life is not some special elixir, the source of which is known to only a few. Friendship, exercise and maintaining a positive focus all help us to build the necessary resources to keep going in the face of adversity and bounce back from tough times more quickly. We can build resilience if we choose to do so.

And resilience in communication is also something that we can choose to create for ourselves. Here are three key things each of us can do to build it:

  1. When someone rejects our ideas, rather than choosing to argue our case even more strongly or simply to give up, as resilient communicators we can learn to view “no” as useful information – rather than personal rejection or the end of the line. We can seek to understand the reasons for the “no”.  We can ask genuine questions to build insights into the other person’s mindset and we can respect the information that is shared. We can use our increased understanding to build bridges between the outcomes we are seeking and what is important to the other person. We can offer choices rather than giving ultimatums.

  2. If we are seeking to engage others in change, as resilient communicators we need to recognise that a ‘one-size-fits-all’ message, shared once to a large group, will simply not cut the mustard. Instead, we must consider how to make our message interesting and engaging to the recipients. Examine why they should care about it at all, in the midst of all the clamouring for their attention. Plan multiple channels to get our message across, and have the patience to reiterate it rather than expecting people to get it after they hear it once. And recognise that resistance to our message is often the first sign that people are engaging with it.

  3. On an everyday level, we can be more tolerant of other people’s communication. We can consider the possibility that they left us off the email by mistake rather than by design, and choose to contact them to follow up instead of sulking and licking our wounds. We can ask questions to build our understanding of their message, rather than blaming their poor communication for our lack of insight. We can be more open to understanding their point-of-view rather than simply pushing our own.

All of these are simple steps that any one of us can choose to take.  In doing so, we will become more resilient communicators; better at making sure our message is heard and understood, better at building the relationships and bridges that ensure people want to connect with us, better at withstanding knock-backs and resistance to change.

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