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How Leaders Build Resilience and Maintain Composure Amid Uncertainty


Today, leaders face numerous challenges. These include bumpy digitalization processes, uncertain future prospects, the crisis mode as a constant state, and high performance pressure. But that’s not all. In addition, leaders must ensure that their teams work efficiently remotely, compensate for the shortage of skilled workers as best as possible, meet high regulatory requirements, and the list goes on.

These complex challenges on many levels make it clear why a traditional leadership style often no longer works and why leaders are quickly overwhelmed. How can a leader successfully meet today’s demands instead of burning out? Resilience is the central starting point to equip leaders for their complex tasks and prevent burnout. Here’s what’s important.


Why Traditional Leadership Styles Are Outdated


We are in the midst of a paradigm shift from the leader as a “confident know-it-all,” who knows no uncertainty or doubt and clearly states: “I say where it goes,” to the role model for confidently admitting and enduring uncertainties. Older leaders, in particular, struggle to shed the leadership style they have been trained in for decades.

Young leaders, on the other hand, find it difficult to find clear guidelines for action in this jungle of requirements. In both cases, resilience is a helpful starting point for not despairing of the current conditions. But how exactly do leaders manage to live up to a contemporary leadership style and fulfill their leadership tasks even under difficult circumstances?

Resilience must be considered on two levels:

  1. Personal resilience: The leader must develop personal strength and resilience to shape their role.
  2. Team resilience: The leader must promote the resilience of their team by creating the right conditions and demonstrating resilient behavior.


What a Leader Needs on a Personal Level


The persolog® Model odporności osobistej, which focuses on personal resilience, is divided into four areas: Accepting, Feeling, Orienting, and Understanding. This illustrates well which mindset and behavior help a leader:

  • Accepting: Those who are able to accept their own leadership situation in uncertain times lay the foundation for the right mindset. On the one hand, it’s about the leader accepting themselves as they are. But it’s also about accepting the circumstances and situations they are faced with. A leader must take responsibility for themselves and not blame others.
  • Feeling: A leader needs the ability to handle emotions mindfully. On the one hand, it’s about perceiving one’s own emotions and, in the second step, dealing with them mindfully. Internal blockages are dissolved by consciously dealing with one’s own reactions to what is emotionally going on within us. Especially in crises and challenges, it’s crucial not to let negative emotions block us but to be proactive and capable of action. Only then can our own emotions be consciously influenced positively.
  • Orienting: Here, it’s about finding orientation in difficult times and seeking support. But it’s also about inner flexibility and finding new solutions when a plan is not feasible. It’s important for the leader to recognize when they are stuck, actively seek support, and most importantly, accept help instead of trying to do everything alone.
  • Understanding: This involves reflecting on one’s own behavior and questioning situations to break problematic automatic responses. This also includes cognitive empathy towards team members to understand when they are in difficult situations. This not only solves problems but also enables the leader to act preventively.


What Helps a Leader on a Team Level


Resilience-oriented leadership strengthens team members and helps everyone fulfill their tasks even under difficult conditions. What does a leader need to focus on to promote resilience in the team?

Here, the persolog® Model odporności zespołu helps by showing six relevant factors:

  • Significance: Forming identity, developing culture. Significance describes a team’s ability to form a common identity and culture based on shared values and goals. A resilient team manages to develop a sense of “we” that enables it to stick together even in difficult situations and make decisions together.
  • Psychological safety: Building trust, strengthening connection. Psychological safety means creating an atmosphere in the team where everyone can speak freely without fear of consequences. Because a resilient team manages to strengthen trust and connection by relying on open communication and mutual support.
  • Team efficacy: Having optimism, mastering challenges. This factor describes the belief that the team together is capable of mastering even difficult situations. Because a resilient team manages to remain optimistic and use its skills and strengths to overcome challenges and be successful.
  • Clarity and structure: Clarifying expectations, shaping communication. This is about clearly communicating expectations and structuring communication effectively. This makes it possible to define clear goals and responsibilities and promote open and transparent communication to solve problems quickly and work effectively.
  • Action and solution orientation: Proactively changing, being adaptable. Action and solution orientation mean that the team acts proactively and adaptably to adapt to changes. Because a resilient team manages to keep a cool head even in difficult situations and search for solutions together to act quickly and effectively.
  • Team learning: Dealing with experiences, reflecting on experiences. This means that setbacks experienced by the team are seen as a natural part of the learning process, and future-oriented conclusions are drawn from these experiences.

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