11 Key Steps Leaders Can Take To Increase Their Resilience

Forbes Coaches Council

A key trait for leaders to possess is resilience. In a busy workplace, leaders must show that they have things under control and keep their own spirits up while encouraging and guiding others who work alongside them. 

That’s a lot of pressure on one person, and being able to bounce back from the inevitable missteps, setbacks and headaches encountered along the way is one of the primary characteristics of a successful leader. Thankfully, resilience is not an innate quality, but rather a mindset that can be cultivated. 

Here, 11 associates from Forbes Coaches Council offer insights into how leaders can increase their resilience and, in the process, inspire those who look to them for guidance.

1. Reframe The Situation

Resilience is not an inborn trait, though some people appear better prepared than others. The good news is that it is a skill that can be developed. One of the most helpful approaches is to reframe the situation. Reframing moves us from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset, allowing us to recognize and appreciate the situation’s positive aspects. – Mary Patry, ITeffectivity, LLC

2. Practice Mindfulness

The research is undeniable: A regular mindfulness practice will help you build resilience in the brain. Experiment with different mindfulness practices and pick one that works best for you. This habit will help you bounce back faster from “triggers” and reduce the things you get triggered by. – Shefali Raina, Alpha Lane Partners


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3. Pause And Take A Deep Breath

Pause and take a deep breath; exhale with your mouth slightly open. Clear your mind. Repeat six times; this is all that is needed to bring the pressure down. It will not necessarily make you resilient overnight, but it will set you on a new path that temporarily pushes away the noise and chaos and creates space for peace, calm, learning and growth. – Mimi Moore, exeCoaching International

4. Listen To The Voice In Your Head

Ducks and other migratory birds instinctively know to fly south when the weather changes, yet humans often ignore their inner voice—to their peril. Resilience involves trusting yourself enough to follow your intuition, assess the environmental indicators and align your life in the right direction. – Maureen Orey, Workplace Learning & Performance Group

5. Practice Intentional Self-Care

Resilience is our ability to bounce forward from our challenges and be better. Resilience requires a healthy dose of self-awareness and self-management, both of which require leaders to develop a routine to provide time and space to relax, recharge, reconnect and reengage mentally, physically, socially and spiritually. Intentional self-care is the first step in building resilience. – Dennis Volpe, LRI

6. Prepare For What Can Go Wrong

Resiliency can be built in a variety of ways. My favorite is by thinking through what can go wrong, envisioning what might be on the other side and preparing for it. When we play things out in our minds, the derailers become familiar and the mind begins detouring, pivoting naturally instead of being caught off-guard. – Shelley Smith, Premier Rapport

7. Increase The Brain’s Bilateral Functioning

Resilience can be enhanced by increasing a leader’s bilateral integrated functioning of the brain (i.e., using both hemispheres of the brain simultaneously to process information) by simply keeping the brain fit. This can be achieved through cross-lateral exercises such as sports, mental exercises to work on focus and problem-solving, spine stretching and lengthening and enhancing neurotransmitters through memory recall games. – Arthi Rabikrisson, Prerna Advisory

8. Don’t Take Things Personally

When you first start out in business, it can be very easy to take things personally. When it comes to business, though, one great way to build resilience is to remember that nothing is personal. Whether you are promoted and receive negativity, have to implement change and are disliked for it or just can’t please a customer, always remember: It’s not personal. – Rebecca Patterson, Rebecca Patterson

9. Try To Read As Much As You Can

Try to read as much as you can and explore different areas and industries. Learning to observe the world through different eyes and perspectives allows you to expand your mind and understanding of your environment. – Michelle de Matheu, The Mind, Body & Soul Stylist

10. Give What You Need

A good life practice overall is to give what you need. It has the best return. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “It is one of the beautiful compensations of life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.” Keeping your team motivated keeps you motivated. Assign that role to everyone on the team. – Kathi Laughman, The Mackenzie Circle LLC

11. Fake It Till You Make It

There are lots of great tips about self-care and self-motivation, but sometimes the answer is to fake it till you make it. As a leader, I don’t always feel positive and motivated (just like everyone else). Yet I need to keep my team on track, and I have a role to play. Keeping the energy positive even when I don’t feel like it has helped me weather storms. Over time, we feel how we act. – Krista Neher, Boot Camp Digital


Top business and career coaches from Forbes Coaches Council offer firsthand insights on leadership development & careers.



Michelle de Matheu, High-Performance Life & Business Coach. Mind-Body & Soul Stylist. Read Michelle de Matheu’s full executive profile here.


Top business and career coaches from Forbes Coaches Council offer firsthand insights on leadership development & careers.



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