Enhancing Resiliency in Public Service

Resilience is our ability to bounce back from adversity. It’s what allows us to recover from change or hardship, whether in the workplace or life.

Today, as we adapt to unprecedented social distancing and public health requirements, changes seem to come at lightning speed — and our resilience is tested more than ever.

As a public service leader, it’s important to demonstrate resiliency for your colleagues. Someone with resilient leadership demonstrates the ability to see failures as minor setbacks, with the tenacity to bounce back quickly. In difficult times, your people are looking to you for emotional strength and courage to remain positive. They’re looking for you to set the direction and light the path.

If you practice resilient leadership, you’ll project a positive outlook that will help others maintain the emotional strength they need to commit to a shared mission and the courage to move forward and overcome setbacks.

If the COVID-19 era is testing your ability to bounce back, there are steps you can take to advance and thrive. By modifying your thoughts and actions, you can change your views, habits, and responses. It will also help broaden your outlook and build resilient leadership. And it will inspire your team to become more adaptable.

graphic depicting the eight recommended practices for developing resiliency

To become more resilient, focus on the following eight practices:

  1. Develop and nurture a broad network of personal and professional relationships. Personal relationships create a strong base of support — a critical element in achieving goals, dealing with hardships, and developing perspective. Remember that relationships are important for your team, too.
  2. Be intentional about setting aside time to contact your connections. Socialization outside of work conference calls is important and should be part of our daily routines, even if it’s brief.
  3. In addition to lowering your blood pressure and cholesterol, we know that regular exercise improves your ability to process stress and simultaneously increases your resilience.
  4. Detaching from work and making time for the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep each night is scientifically proven to strengthen resilient leadership.
  5. Whether you’re celebrating success or enduring hardship, make time for mindfulness. Mindfulness fosters learning, new perspectives, and a degree of self-awareness that can enhance your resiliency
  6. Embrace new perspectives, gain new understandings, and apply them during times of change. Don’t hold onto old behaviors and skills just because they’re familiar. Great leaders are great learners.
  7. Deliberately enhance and prolong your positive moods, experiences, and emotions. Consciously savoring the good things in life is important because neuroscience research suggests that our brains have a negativity bias, so leaders must intentionally reach positivity to enhance resilient leadership.
  8. Take time to acknowledge and appreciate small things throughout your day. The more purposeful you are about practicing gratitude, the more things will naturally trigger a feeling of thankfulness.

Together, these eight resilient leadership practices will make you a happier, more successful person, both as a leader at work and as an adaptable, future-ready individual.

This post is adapted from a blog post published by the Center for Creative Leadership.

Management Concepts and the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL®) are collaborating on a series of unique leadership learning experiences designed specifically for the federal space.

Joining our comprehensive line-up of leadership courses, this unique content is only available through Management Concepts. It is delivered by highly qualified instructors within the award-winning framework designed by CCL®.

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