Resilience and change: How to be the best you can be in a changing world

Resilience and change: How to be the best you can be in a changing world

Like it or not, change is the only constant in our lives. To me, it is a good thing. It allows us to move forwards and experience new things, sometimes things that we never thought were possible. And so, as we step into a new year it is time to take some time out, reflect and just maybe, step into 2022 with a plan of how to equip ourselves to embrace change in order to live a fulfilled life, at home and at work, rather than fight it. 

In an ever-changing world, we need to become adaptable. The future of business is in the ability to innovate, evolve, react, and succeed, and potentially change its shape permanently as a result. This agility and resilience will be the key to sustainable growth and success. It will be an essential tool for leaders and their teams. Working to build this valuable resource equips people with the tools to cope with change or obstacles thrown their way, creatively, flexibly, and even embrace it.

The Right Way

The very first step on this journey is in the acceptance that there is no right way. There may be a way that you do things, a way that you were taught to do things. Only one way to do it ‘right’ however there is no one right way. As soon as a ‘right’ way is professed, there will always be a better way on the horizon. Someone will be figuring it out. And why shouldn’t it be you? When you are told something, be curious and ask why? How?

Foster a culture of resilience

 As a leader it is your role to create a safe work environment for your people. This applies practically, physically, and mentally. The first is an element that every organisation should simply do as a matter of course, Health & Safety 101. The second is about creating a physical place people want to work, optimising performance it also links intrinsically with optimising human well-being.

And human wellbeing means that your responsibility extends to creating a safe environment for your people to work and live in. At least it is accepting that your employees have a life outside of the office and personal responsibilities attached to that. At most, and its most effective, it is holistic in all that you do. Part of your culture. 

Show that you value your people in their completeness, encourage them to take advantage of the wellness and social activities on offer, make sure they switch off in this constantly connected world, celebrate important occasions, foster flexibility, cultivate compassion, and recreate those all-important watercooler moments wherever your teams may be based. Good mental health is essential for leaders to lead and your people to support you.

Keep an open mind

One of the most important skills in a great leader’s competency kit is the ability to understand, listen and hear. This applies to all stakeholders, customers, partners, people, and the marketplace. It provides clarity, encourages openness, and develops trust. 

As humans we are unique. We are all different, we all have different viewpoints, experiences, and skills. This is a strength, and creates a huge pool of potential. Accept people for who they are, what they can bring and because they are different. Sometimes it is only by talking to people, family, friends, or work teams, that you notice and realize things, as they provide dialogue and feedback and even new perspectives. These conversations can help you figure out an issue, and/or adapt to change.

No one is perfect and sharing a tale of a lesson learned is not about vulnerability it is about authenticity. It helps us connect, another crucial human requirement, influencing the behaviour of others and the effect continues. Smile, engage, help, make time, congratulate, appreciate, and slow down. Kindness boosts your own wellbeing as well as the wellbeing of others and more than anything, it does not cost a penny.

Add this to creating a safe environment and you allow people to be more inventive, more pioneering, and more motivated. Good for them and great for business. 

Blaze your own trail

When people have the knowledge, confidence, means and ability to make decisions and/or mistakes, the benefits are endless, even in a crisis. They will already be equipped to step-up to the mark, be more productive and have a certain degree of ownership, enabling them to be the best that they can be. 

It should be woven into daily life, inspiring and encouraging people to improve themselves, their work experience, and the culture. Delegate, give clear boundaries, provide opportunities for learning and growth, give them freedom to pursue projects outside of their main remit, and empower them to make mistakes (and learn from them). Powerful solutions come from the freedom to be brave. If you genuinely believe it then you can be the change. If not, there is power in learning from trying and failing. 

Change is difficult. It can be hard to accept. But it is inevitable. Equip yourself and your people with the skills to adapt, foster resilience, promote a growth mindset and a future focus and you create an organization that is full of people striving to be the best that they can be. And your legacy will be an organization that blazes the trail, driving the change that everyone else must follow, not just in 2022 but for many years into the future.

Joanna Swash
Joanna Swash

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