The role resilience plays in leadership

Energy In > Energy Out

Outside of my own life experiences, I only understood the importance of being resilient when I became a mentor in the Juno Adaptive Leaders Program. The program partners working professionals with unemployed or disadvantaged community members for a twelve-week period with the objective of getting them back into sustainable employment.

If you go with the definition that leadership is the ability to influence, then this program tested my leadership skills like nothing else I?ve experienced. Stepping into directive or commanding mode, when I felt frustrated, was a complete waste of time. As was trying to be overly supportive in the hope they?d take action. The minute my prot?g? felt threatened or uncomfortable they would disengage or disappear (which happened on several occasions). When they felt too comfortable they would provide endless reasons why they hadn?t followed through on their commitments.

For a successful outcome, I needed to retain the trust of my prot?g? and ensure they always felt safe while gently opening their mind to new possibilities and holding them accountable for their commitments. It was a delicate balancing act that challenged me on all levels. And, what I learnt about myself and my prot?g? is that resilience is core to delivering a positive outcome. For me, resilience was needed to continually adapt to new ways of influencing and to remain patient ? there were several times where I just wanted to find a job for them but I knew that wasn?t the answer. For my prot?g?, resilience was needed to continually pick themselves up from the rejection of not getting the job they?d applied for.

While some people seem to be more resilient than others, we?re all capable of increasing our resilience over time. In fact, if you?re in a leadership role, I?m guessing you?re constantly dipping into your resilience reserves. So, you need to be regularly topping up your ?cup? and keeping your reserves high.

How do I keep my resilience cup topped up? Well, my hyper active, amazingly inspiring and super successful older sister, Narelle, lives by the concept of ?energy in – energy out?. She has a ridiculously busy schedule and travels often. She tells me regularly to make sure I?m doing things that give me energy back. For me, this is being around people who inspire me, or taking a walk in a park, or playing a board game with my kids, or playing around with a new recipe. It?s an activity that gives back mental energy because of how it makes you feel.

Narelle said the one thing she doesn?t compromise when she travels is exercise.? Regardless of which country she?s in she?ll always start her morning with exercise. The times where she?s ?skipped? her workout because she?s felt too drained have left her feeling worse than if she?d done it. The activity itself may seem insignificant to your overall state but makes a big difference over time and should be given priority in your daily routine.

Whatever it is that gives you energy, make sure you have more energy coming in than going out and keep your resilience cup full!

Need help? Give me a call.


Shelley Flett is a passionate leader with a keen focus on creating efficient and sustainable team environments through adaptable leadership. She is a Leadership Coach, Trainer, Facilitator, Mentor and Speaker who ignites vision and purpose in those she works with.

If you?d like to know more about her latest program on bringing teams together please drop her an email

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