Tolerating uncertainty and managing people in a changing environment requires managers and executives to pay more attention to people. Skills need to be constantly developed. Uncertainty will never go away and it has, in fact, become a part of the new normal.
We now have a better understanding of the resilience (psychological flexibility and the capacity for recovery) of teams and have started to understand the importance of this for the success of an organisation as a whole. People with tenacity and perseverance are in demand. Everyone wants to hire them, more and more of them.
Resilience is a Skill
We used to think that resilience is a personality trait, but it is not: it is something that can be learned, to a degree at least.
But what can you do if you don’t feel very resilient, or it is obvious that your team or some of its members are not among the toughest? Do adversity and criticism hit hard, and does it take too long to recover from disappointments?
The first thing to do is to check the practical matters. How is work organised, do its complicated processes and outdated practices put a strain on the employees? A heavy work load weakens a person’s ability to tolerate uncertainty and to take on and deal with adversity. Should the work load be reduced?
How can resilience be strengthened?
Even when the situation is very uncertain, you are expected to flourish and help everyone else flourish. We need to believe in success. We need a feeling that we are in control that is not based on predictability but on our competence, courage and ability to cope. We need relationships that are supportive.
Showing appreciation and empathy are practical ways of giving support. People can work miracles when they receive support and others have faith in them and challenge them compassionately.
From the perspective of leadership skills, we talk about so-called deep-level skills, i.e. recognising and managing emotions, both our own and those of others. You can only manage emotions efficiently if you are sincere and there for others.
Emotions are associated with fears and beliefs that must be tackled before development of skills can succeed. For instance, if you believe that emotions should not be a part of the workplace or shown at work, the first thing to do is to allow yourself to forget this harmful stance.
Here are a few ways that will help anyone learn how to identify emotions and use their leadership skills:
- Start your self-improvement journey by writing down your emotions a few times each day. If you cannot find the words, identifying whether you are feeling good, bad or something else is enough to begin with.
- Next, try to identify other people’s emotions and write them down. Also write down the situation where you observed the emotion. Look inside yourself in order to empathise with the other person’s emotions. Don’t go along with these feelings but try to understand why the other person feels like they seem to be feeling.
- Note the other person’s emotions in the form of a question. Are the feelings what you think they are? Do not talk too much, just be present and listen. Look at the person but do not stare. Put away your phone and computer. Respect the other person’s experience and try to learn from it.
- Find daily moments to encourage others by telling them that you have faith in them. Find your own words, be genuine. Show that you care. But do not enter a situation where you are not wanted, be overly friendly or intrude, or speak as you would to a child; remember that you are the manager.
Keep learning to become a more ethical leader. Read the guide Why should you improve your ethical leadership skills and how to do it?