How To Build Your Managerial Resilience
Failures and crises are an inevitable part of a manager’s professional life. They can be devastating, lifechanging, and transformative. They can make or break a career, a family, ruin domestic and working relationships and working cultures, and potentially break a business, with detrimental effects for all concerned.
Although mistakes and crises are acknowledged as part of life, they are too often ignored or, worse still, frowned upon. Whether the nature of the crisis is personal or related to business challenges,whether the causes were external economic factors or internal matters, crises can deeply affect those involved and their performance in all areas of life.
The possibility for mistakes and unforeseen outcomes is ever-present in management BUT, if managed correctly, resilience can be built up following any series of personal challenges, mistakes or significant personal or business fallout.
Resilience is an essential part of bouncing back from failures and can be used to generate a positive impact on well-being, performance, productivity, confidence, and efficiency.
We MUST learn to become resilient if we want to continue to contribute to organisational success without fear of failure, feeling strong and effective in the face of considerable adversity, and becoming stronger from the experience.
Resilience can be generated in the following ways:
- Own up to your failures: openly discuss the failure with those parties involved and admit your part in the process. Offer apologies and, most importantly, sincerely mean them. You should never try to shift the blame onto someone else – this is very weak managerial style and will create huge amounts of resentment going forward. Admitting your mistakes generates high levels of personal respect which will be invaluable for your career in the long term. If you can correct and redeem the situation make steps to get this done, which will boost your confidence levels.
- Deal with the immediate problem: mistakes generate high emotions which need to be handled very carefully. Whatever you do learn to react carefully and in a measured way, making sure that no doors are then closed to you and you find yourself with limited options.
- Pause and reflect: think objectively about the impact of the issue and what this means for you in practical terms. You may feel a loss of confidence in your own ability and those around you might similarly question your abilities, have less confidence in your skills and you may have some responsibilities removed. Negative emotions (anger, sadness, frustration) are perfectly natural so take time to assess their impact before setting out on your recovery plan. Rushing or ignoring this process will seriously limit your resilience going forward and make you prone to further managerial mistakes and crises.
- Re-assess your ideas and motivation: look carefully at your Values and what you consider to be of primary importance about your professional development. This might mean changing your priorities and your perspective upon your career and personal life to find a new vision and way forward.Think about your own personalobjectives, how you measure personal success and how these may need to change or be adapted in the light of what you have just been through.
- Look forwards, not backwards, and set out on your path: being consumed with failure can be a long-lasting and very limiting experience and some people never come back from this. A real perspective is needed here to avoid such a set of circumstances. Whatever your choice, to leave and do something new, or to tough it out and come back stronger, you must accept things as they are and move forward, without dwelling on the painful past.
- Develop a support network: you will need friends, colleagues and family to help you deal with the problem. The backing and trust of people that you value is essential in moving forward and your trust in their opinions and views is essential in getting out of a potentially damaging time in your life. Allies are very much needed in developing your resilience.
- Look at the Risks you took and recognise them: think about how you could have approached the situation in a different way, turning the negatives that you experienced into positives that you can use in different contexts. The key here is to recognise risk when it comes along and decide carefully how to mitigate its impact, thinking strategically about the decisions you are making and the risks this path create.
- Critically assess your own winning traits: develop winning skills and strategies for the future issues that you will be facing. Be brutally honest with yourself – did your communication and interpersonal skills let you down? Were you too secretive, have the wrong attitude, did you ignore the warning signs? By looking, and most importantly, learning from your mistakes, you can develop a workable and effective personal strategy for your future.
- What are your training and development needs? Did you have a lack of knowledge that caused the issue you are now facing? Do your skills need updating or refreshing to assess situations in a more holistic way? Again, here, brutal honesty is needed to identify and remedy shortcomings in these areas. If you are given a task to complete and you know that this will not be possible for you to deal effectively and properly with it, then say so – there is no point having another crisis to deal with unnecessarily.
Above all else, reframe failure: move away from a blame culture approach to embrace a culture where no one is afraid to admit their mistakes and where people own them. Mistakes should be tolerated and used as key learning experiences that we can benefit from and gain key learning points for the future.
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