8-step plan to help leaders build resilience

Resilience is defined as the ability to bounce back from adversity, frustration, and misfortune and is essential for an effective leader. Studies show there is a direct relationship between stress and the ability to maintain resilience in the face of prolonged contact with adversity.

Resilience is defined as the ability to bounce back from adversity, frustration, and misfortune and is essential for an effective leader. Studies show there is a direct relationship between stress and the ability to maintain resilience in the face of prolonged contact with adversity (Mind, 2022).

Key areas to consider when building resilience:

  • Remaining vulnerable enough to feel for and with others
  • Becoming strong enough to live with uncertainty and ambiguity
  • Learning to grow, through adversity

Here’s an 8-step plan to help leaders build resilience:

  1. Recognize Your Signs of Stress.
    • Where do you feel stress in your body?
    • What are some of the bad habits you engage in when feeling stressed?
  2. Focus on Building Physical Hardiness.
    • What kind of small changes can you invest in to improve your health? (Better sleep, better nutrition, hydration, exercise)
    • List one small change you can make now.
  3. Strengthen the Relaxation Response – Calm Body and Calm Mind.
    • List some activities at home that could help you relax.
    • List some activities at work that could help you relax.
    • Re-connecting with your 5 senses can help to ground and calm you, by settling your physical response. Engaging your senses of touch, smell, sight, hearing, and taste with things you enjoy will physically settle your response mechanisms and enable you to become mentally calmer.
  4. Identify and Use Your Strengths.
    • Describe a time when you were able to overcome or handle a major challenge in life.
      • What did you learn about yourself?
      • What personal strengths did you draw upon?
      • Draw upon an image of when you were the most resilient.
      • How might you apply this strength now?
  5. Increase Positive Emotions daily.
    • Identify sources of humor or joy.
    • Express gratitude, visit someone, or write a letter.
    • List your accomplishments.
  6. Engage in Meaningful Activities.
    • Regularly notice what meaningful activities happened in your day.
    • What kinds of activities did you find meaningful?
    • Identify activities that put you in the flow. (Enjoyable activities that cause you to lose track of time.)
  7. Counter Unhelpful Thinking.
    • Write down what you are thinking about when you get stressed and then ask: What is the worst that can happen and could I survive it? What is the best that could happen? What would I tell a friend in a similar situation?
    • If you can’t stop thinking about something, write about it a couple of times over 4 weeks for about 15 minutes each time. Notice how your story changes or your perspective becomes clearer each time.
    • If you are being hard on yourself, practice self-compassion and learn to be kind to yourself. Give yourself a mental break or a pat on the back.
    • Remember a hero, a coach, or a mentor that encouraged you when you doubted yourself.
  8. Create a Caring Community.
    • Connect with friends and family regularly.
    • Identify your sources of support.
      • Work
      • At home.
      • In the community
    • Take actions to regularly engage with your sources of support
      • Meet or speak to them regularly
      • Offer support to others – both when asked and where you can see a need
      • Share information that you think others would appreciate.

Find out more about P2 and how we can help build resilience with your leaders and teams.

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