Build Emotional Resilience

"The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall." Nelson Mandela

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

One important characteristic of leadership is emotional resilience. It's the ability to be in touch with one's emotions and those of others. But it includes the willingness to face into personal fears and not be intimidated by the pressure of others. This means that those with low emotional resilience allow their emotions to control, dictate, or govern their attitudes and actions. On the other hand, those with high emotional resilience are mindful of their feelings and effectively manage them rather than allowing them to control their feelings and reactions.

Four ways to develop emotional resilience.


One | Be Emotionally Aware
Critical to emotional resilience is the ability to be in touch with our emotions. If we experience feelings but are not in touch with them, they can undermine our leadership and elicit responses that adversely affect others. For instance, fear (an emotion) that we experience and yet can be out of touch with can elicit a response that causes us to either be hurtful to others or hide from others. However, leaders who are emotionally aware of the fear and what is triggering it learn to embrace and move through it in spite of their concerns for the benefit of the team. Awareness is where resilience begins.

Two | Face Into Fear
Emotionally resilient leaders also have developed the ability to move from awareness of fear and through fear - and all kinds of them. Fear of people, future, conflict, and uncertainty. There is always some level of fear when making key leadership decisions. What will people think? Will I face resistance? Will my team still trust me? What if our strategy fails? These and many other fear-based questions can paralyze a leader. Those with emotional resilience understand their fear but choose to move through it, and take measurable risks.

Three | Make Right Decisions
But resilience people not only are emotionally aware and move through their fears, but they also choose a course of action regardless of their concerns. This is because emotionally resilient leaders make the right choice not always the convenient choice. Some leaders back away from making moral and ethical decisions, especially when it involves a confronting a superior, conflicts with a personal agenda, or complicates a process. This is why some leaders will not terminate a staff who is not productive, free a partner whose values don't align, or release a high paying customer that absorbs excessive amounts of time and energy. Acting out of fear is usually a deterrent to emotional resilience. But thinking right and taking righteous action will lead to right results.

Four | Play It, Forward
And lastly, one of the ways people with emotional resilience can do the right thing is that they have developed the ability to think through the future possible outcomes. In other words, they make calculated decisions after thinking through the unintended consequences. By doing their "homework ahead of time," resilient leaders minimize the negative impacts of their choices and therefore the risk in decision making. This discipline takes into account the justifiable fears one might have but reduces those fears by thinking through the possible consequences up front.

Vince Miller Founder of ResoluteVince Miller is a speaker, author, and mentor to men. He is an authentic and transparent leader who loves to communicate to audiences on the topics of mentorship, fathering, leadership and manhood. He has authored 13 books and small group curriculum for men and is the primary content creator of all Resolute materials. Contact Vince Miller here. His newest book is Thirty Virtues That Build A Man.