Thursday, July 8, 2010

Do you feel battered, yet resilient?

If you answered "YES," you are not alone.

According to The McKinsey Quarterly Economic Snapshot, 42% of executives picked this description to describe their feelings regarding the global economy.

It is one thing to feel battered. It is an entirely
different thing to feel resilient and powerful to overcome it.

What struck me about this survey is not that top leaders in business are feeling battered, it is clear that nobody is immune to the impact of this economy. But instead, what was evident in this research is that leaders choose to manage these feelings in a productive way.

Leaders are resilient.

Resilience isn't just about "toughing it out". Resilience is about being flexible, bending and adapting to the forces beyond your control.

Rigidity is the opposite of resilience.

We often hear people speak of resilience when it comes to children. When a child confronts change or difficulty, we often say: "They'll be fine, kids are so resilient." I would agree, except to say that they will be resilient only if they have developed trust in themselves and in their environment.

Usually when children exhibit a lack of resilience or rigidity it is because they are insecure and mistrusting of the "new" experience or change.

I have experienced this dynamic with my daughter Leila who is adopted from Russia. She wasn't able to build trust early, since the first 11 months of her life contained no predictability or security, only a revolving door of caretakers. As a result, her ability to be resilient is sometimes lower than other children.

I have taken steps to help her build her resilience and with these steps, I have also built my own resilience. No one is immune to a lack of trust and in order to build resilience, we must firm up our feeling of trust in ourselves.

I think these steps can help you become a better leader at work and in your life by enabling you to become more resilient during these difficult times.

1. Build predictability into the areas which you control in your everyday routine.
2. Before you do anything, make it a conscious choice. For example: "I am choosing to work out today."
3. Know that every choice has a consequence. Get clear on what consequence you want.
4. Ask yourself throughout the day, "What will I choose to do next?" Ensure that your actions are driven by you.
5. When things happen to you outside of your control, know that you have a choice in what to do with that. You can't change or control others' actions. Every action has a reaction. Choose your reaction wisely.

I can't control what others are telling me about the economy, I can only choose how to react to it.

I don't know about you, but I sure want to do something productive with it.

Don't you?

1 comment:

Rachel said...

Great post, Laura. I especially appreciate your idea that to lead others, we must first lead ourselves!