Executive Coaching Connections, LLC

Resilience is all about getting back up, and how we do that. (Karsten Drath)

Global ECC Affiliate, Managing Partner with Leadership Choices, and author, Karsten Drath, discussed Resilient Leadership at an ECC learning event at The Glen Club on Thursday, May 14, 2015. 

Drath has developed a proactive, holistic model called The 7 Spheres of Resilience that includes:  Personality, Biography, Attitude, Resources, Mind-Body Connection, Authentic Relationships, and Purpose. 

Here are 7 lessons in resilient leadership and tips on how to cultivate yours:

  1. Personality: Expand your thinking. Your resilience is a function of the level of “stress resilience” you’re born with and the self-management strategies you learn, such as how to utilize your resources. Resilience goes beyond mental or physical toughness. “Focusing on toughness alone makes no sense,” according to Drath. “It is only a question of time before something is tougher than you.” If you want to cultivate resilience, enhance your self-management strategies.     
  2. Biography: What’s your story? Biography is the story you tell yourself and how you make sense of the world. According to Drath, you can’t change a trauma in your life, but you can change the emotional meaning you give it. To become a more resilient leader, understand which of your stories increase your resilience and which ones don’t.  What have you learned from the adversities you’ve faced? Can you change some of your stories to grow your resilience? 
  3. Attitude: Make a decision. Attitude is one of the spheres of resilience that’s completely within our control and impacts both personal leadership and organizational climate. As one attendee described, “Resilience, or lack of it, is contagious.” The next time you’re faced with a crisis at work or at home, choose an attitude that will build your resilience.   
  4. Resources: What are your “non-negotiables”? Resources help you keep your balance in good times and bad. Resources can include exercise, rest/sleep, time with friends and family (or by yourself), creative activities, or anything else you find restorative. When you know which resources make a difference for you, build them into your routines, and make them non-negotiables (things you’ll always make time for), you grow your resilience. You also become a positive role model for your team. Which resources can you turn into your non-negotiables?   
  5. Mind-Body Connection: Beware of energy thieves. Some people take more energy than they give. And, perhaps you avoid them. But what about the energy thieves do we embrace on our own? For many of us, one such thief is technology. Drath posed the question: Are you using your tech, or is it using you?  Does your tech increase your energy, or drain it?
  6. Authentic Relationships: Lonely at the top? We all need people who like us for who we are, not for the titles we hold. The higher your position in an organization, the more critical it is to have authentic relationships. But those relationships don’t happen automatically. In fact, senior leaders tend to spend most of their time with people in the organization hierarchy (vs. those outside of it). Who are the one or two people you’d like to be in touch with more often? Consider making this a non-negotiable.
  7. Purpose: Take the long view. When our lives have purpose, we face adversity more easily. According to Drath, “It’s active work to find meaning in what we do.” How can you find more meaning and purpose in your work and in your life? What adjustments can you make to live a life with fewer regrets?

Quoting Alfred von Herrhausen, former Chairman of Deuche Bank, Drath said, “Only if you can lead yourself effectively, you can lead others.” 

Build your leadership resilience and become a leader others will want to follow. 

For more on the recent learning event with Karsten, check out ECC’s Twitter coverage at @ECC_Coaches

If you or your team needs help developing leadership resilience, call ECC at +1.847.920.0190 to discuss coaching and workshop options.