What Makes You Resilient?

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What Makes You Resilient?

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Adverse conditions aren’t something that most people look forward to, but resilient people dig deep to find ways to overcome them.

Attractive female business executive

Resiliency is a leadership quality, and of course, leadership qualities are appropriate for everyone. While many quickly recognize that resiliency means having an ability to bounce back, bounce back quickly, or return to original form, in leadership endeavors it may also mean that you get the bad news first, you must be able to accept adverse or difficult situations, and you must be responsible and accountable to bounce back faster than most.

Many people like the idea of being a supervisor, a manager, or in some way being recognized as a leader in the workplace, that is until they realize that leadership is not a bigger office, a nicer desk, and a bunch of job perks. It requires you to have a strong ability to work with others to accomplish a common goal, to be willing and able to face and solve problems, and to take some reasonable risk all while remaining very poised and confident. If you can do this, you might be resilient. 

Building Resiliency

You’ve heard it before. The best people at doing anything (or nothing) make it look easy. It might be true that talent, expertise, and hard work can make overcoming adverse conditions or solving difficult problems look easy, but the truth for most people who make it look this way is that they are extremely resilient. There are many things that can help people become more resilient and here are a few of my favorites:

  • Appropriate Attitude. People have to come prepared with an appropriate attitude. Resilient people or people with a resiliency attitude tend to focus on making the most of every situation, they don’t focus on what they don’t have, they focus on effectively using everything they do have and sometimes this starts with having a good attitude.
  • Willingness to Jump In. Critical thinking and root cause analysis are important for problem solving and people should use all of their skills to be as effective as possible, but it is important to note that resilient people are not plagued with analysis paralysis; they have a willingness to jump in and get things started. Hesitation, procrastination, and any fears that halt progress might be the first step in creating additional failures. Resilient people balance their actions with well thought out plans but at the same time they don’t chronically plan, they jump in and get things done.
  • Create Opportunities. Change means opportunity and opportunity means change. If you believe the comfort zone is real then you might also believe that staying the same is the riskiest place to be. I believe the comfort zone is real and too many people are stranded because they don’t take appropriate risks. No one wants to risk something to end up worse off than before, but if you don’t see change as an opportunity and you fail to take any risk you won’t just stay the same, you’ll fall behind.

Resiliency is sometimes associated with mental and physical toughness and it certainly helps to have strength in those areas but resiliency can also be built. It starts by having the right attitude, it is important to have a willingness to jump in and get things started, and you have to seek (find, create) opportunities even when the circumstances seem overwhelming and the conditions extremely adverse. Overcoming problems and issues is never easy, if it was easy, they would already be solved. The best leaders are very resilient, instead of seeing a no win situation they find or create a no lose opportunity, it may have risk but they make it look easy.

What about you, are you resilient?


Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and coach that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is the author of the newly released book, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

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October 24, 2016at 10:32 am

Which Generation, as a whole, is most resilient? Why?

Curious 🙂

    Dennis Gilbert

    October 24, 2016at 2:12 pm

    Interesting question. Some might guess the earlier generations such as the traditionals or baby boomers. However, others could argue that the millennials or Gen Z have seen a world of constant war, broken families, and the challenges of a troubled economy. I believe resiliency should be considered as more of a skill and not a value or belief so I’m not sure that one generation is any more resilient when compared against another. Do you have a thought? Does something stand out to you?


      October 24, 2016at 2:38 pm

      Do you think being resilient needs to be taught?

      Is there an approach for teaching resiliency across generations that is best?

        Dennis Gilbert

        October 24, 2016at 6:00 pm

        In some ways you might believe it comes naturally, perhaps a “survival” instinct. As a general workforce skill, yes I think it can and should be taught or encouraged for continuous development. I believe all generations can share in the learning, best approaches would follow standard protocol. (Theory, experiential learning, perhaps video, facilitated groups and debriefing, etc.)

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