What is a Resilient Leader? 

7th September 2023 / Russell Harvey / No Comments

The International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) – a worldwide federation of national standards bodies – defines resilience as: ‘The ability of a business to absorb and adapt in a changing environment to enable it to deliver its objectives and to survive and prosper.’ 

Quite simply, Resilience is the ability to learn from your setbacks and mistakes.  

That is why I, additionally, define Resilience as “Springing Forward with Learning” and to be able to achieve this; from all of life’s events, whether good or not good, we must find ways to pause, re-energise, recuperate, and reflect. Our reflections are where the learning takes place and I ask my clients to consider two questions whenever they are reflecting (and re-energising!): 

  • From your recent experiences, what do you want to keep doing, that is working well for you and from your recent experiences, what do you want to leave behind and stop doing because it is not useful or helpful? 

Please consider the Strengths, skills, capabilities, attitude, openness to change and behaviours that you want to keep doing and those you don’t. 

If you would like a few more ideas on what to reflect upon then please use The Resilience Wheel to guide you. 

A Resilient Leader is someone who: 

  • Faces difficulties head-on rather than falling into despair or hiding from problems with unhealthy coping strategies. 
  • Remains calm in the face of intense and stressful situations – even those totally unexpected or out of the ordinary. 
  • Possesses a high tolerance for ambiguity and uncertainty and can quickly adapt to these new circumstances. 
  • Looks after their own mental and physical wellbeing – recognising the importance of this to perform at optimum levels. 
  • Is measured and confident in how they communicate – instilling confidence in their leadership. 
  • Keeps a good handle on reality, both in terms of putting mistakes or set backs into perspective, and also setting achievable goals. 

So, what steps can you take to become a resilient leader? 

  • Reflect and Assess – concentrate more on your Strengths and where you have been at your best and have felt truly “energised” and consider how you can do more of this. 
  • Be Purpose-Driven – how clear is your Purpose to you? What are your Values and how are you harnessing them? 
  • Cultivate Relationships – we absolutely cannot do everything by ourselves, concentrate on “finding your tribe”, that strikes a balance of support and positive challenge. 
  • Continuous Learning and Growth – “Springing Forward with Learning!!” 

Good luck with your reflections and re-energising. 

Best wishes 


The Resilience Coach Ltd – Russell Harvey  


Podcast Episode 1 Series 1 (all episodes available on website) 


Website link – www.theresiliencecoach.co.uk  

First published in the July/August 2023 issue

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