My view on Resilience…
Earlier this year, The Sunday Times and Henley Business School joined forces to offer a scholarship for Henley’s MA programme in leadership. They asked readers to answer the following question:
“How can leaders develop resilience in their followers or team”
Sadly, I missed the deadline, but here is what I wrote at the time:
Resilience has often been manufactured crudely, by paying high wages and perhaps leading an organisation like a dictator, striking fear in to hearts and minds. This often leaves the residue of a crusade belonging to one man or woman, and his/her ego. The resulting resilience in the staff of such organisations is born out of a financial transaction, or exchange. The organisation gives money to an employee and the employee gives their time, energy and a degree of resilience to help the organisation pursue it’s aims, which are often the aims of one charismatic leader. Resilience manufactured solely by paying high wages, or by leading a company as a dictator may create a short-term resilience and perceived thick skin, but it a resilience that has no long-lasting qualities because the staff have not “bought-in” and subsequently committed themselves to the values, mission and objectives of the organisation because they see themselves as wholly separate from the organisation.
The best kind of resilience stems from the feeling that a person is part of an organisation championing a cause greater than one-self. This is a cause that each member of the team can personally identify themselves with. From the outside, this has the look of a community of people unified by a clearly defined cause.
The key difference is that the cause is not solely that of the organisation, given to it by its founders and shareholders. Instead it has been inherited and adopted by each individual of the organisation who can personally identify with it. This creates the effect of a unified purpose and the resulting effect is resilience.
Within our own organisation, our overarching statement of intent is that we have “a thirst for the remarkable”. This statement represents our humble, tireless and restless pursuit – or thirst – of all things remarkable in the world of mixed drinks, and cocktails. Internally, this is our pursuit towards building and evolving in to a remarkable and enduring company. It is our belief that enduring resilience has a strong chance of emerging slowly and deliberately within our organisation and will remain, as a result of our single-minded and more importantly, unified march forward.
In addition to the above, an organisation and its members should be led towards embracing adversity, meeting challenges head on in order to overcome obstacles.
It is also important to mention that resilience is often associated with times of difficulty and adversity but it is equally important to harbour a different type of resilience in a more prosperous climate.
In good times for example, practicing Stoics, take action to remember what it was like to struggle and recreate scenarios to feel the reality of this struggle. It is my belief that by applying action such as that of the Stoics, leaders maintain humility, developing the necessary resilience against complacency and the consequential overreaching as we saw earlier this year with Conviviality.
Finally, it should not be overlooked that the manifestation of resilience can only be achieved by individuals that are highly self-motivated. Coupled with a strong understanding of why they are doing what they are doing, self-motivation is the key ingredient that fuels teams in to unstoppable action, with a resilient foundation.
The potential for creating an enduring and highly resilient organisation lies in its members identifying with why they are doing something, but then having the energy and self-discipline to let that why unfold, facing challenges and obstacles head on. Resilience to complacency, as the Stoics have shown us, is an important side to resilience that should not be overlooked in order to create an all-encompassing and well-rounded resilience.
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