It is easy to feel overwhelmed in the face of new challenges, especially in your career, at home, and on the golf course. Being adaptable to these challenges and having the tools to not only overcome them but also embrace the changes that come along with them has been the prime focus of this year’s KPMG Women’s Leadership Study and annual Women’s Leadership Summit in conjunction with the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.
The study, available in full on their website, surveyed 900 executive women to learn more about how they faced the unexpected challenges of leading corporate teams in 2020 and during the pandemic. They found 5 key habits you can start doing today to become more resilient in your own life.
What is Resilience?
While the survey respondents were split on the opinion of whether resilient leaders were born with a certain fortitude or if they were molded by life’s circumstances, they were able to agree on three attributes most resilient leaders have in common: optimism, adaptability, and agility.
By leaning in to those characteristics, people can become more resilient regardless of their inherent nature or past experiences. By looking at the positives, modifying your current lifestyle habits, and staying flexible whenever there is a bump in the road, you’ll find that you will be able to take on any challenge no matter how intimidating.
That is not to say resilience is a purely logical practice. In fact, surveyed female executives found that by being emotionally vulnerable and welcoming others to be open and honest too, they found a liberating acceptance that paid off within their teams.
They added the words “empathy, compassion, and grace” to describe resilient leaders, believing that taking the time to understand that not everyone is coming to the field under perfect conditions, and that being a little rough around the edges does not make a person any less capable of leading.
“I showed up as my whole self with video from my home, holding a sleeping baby as I address my team, and breaking the line between work and home more frequently so others see a working mom trying to manage just like they are,” said one female leader.
Lead By Example
It isn’t a secret that teams can feed off each other’s energies; if one person is frustrated and upset, those negative emotions can rub off on the rest of the group. So too can habits of resilience. The survey findings discovered that the majority of the executive women noticed that their teams looked to them to set the tone for how they approached unexpected challenges. By remaining in an ideal state of calm, cool, and collected, they can motivate the rest of their team to do the same.
“Ladies at all levels face set backs and unpleasant information regularly. Having resilience is a critically important trait, not only for navigating through the challenge but modeling for others how to do so. Many believe leaders can do it all, easily and happily, and feel as if they can’t relate given the challenges they face. Allowing others to see how we use our resilience can be a source of inspiration for future leaders,” shared another executive woman.
Being open and leading by example establishes a good foundation for resiliency from your team, but by listening to those around you, you can help others maximize their potential as well. Listening to other people’s struggles and identifying the areas that challenge them can have the two-fold benefits of showing that all voices are heard and their concerns matter to you, and that they have resources to help them overcome whatever obstacles in their way.
When the team feels isolated, the emotional distance between you can cause strife among the rest of the group, but by listening, you can bring people together and keep them focused on a unified mission to get through and adapt.
Reach Out to Others
Just as resilient leaders need to be open and available for their teams, they also need to be open and available to seeking out mentorship and advice from others. Greatness is never created in a vacuum, and the surveyed executive women discovered that by reaching out to others in their peer groups, they were able to seek advice and camaraderie from women who have been—and currently are—in their shoes. This support circle keeps leaders growing and feeling a sense of belonging to a like-minded network.
Cultivate a Culture of Resiliency
As the lines between work and home-life become blurred with the increased popularity of remote work, the study established that it is more important than ever to cultivate healthy habits that allow time to focus on making sure a person is balanced in work, at home, and in their life, including watching out for their mental and physical health. It may be unconventional at times, but adaptability is important to resiliency. Listening to your body and what it needs is just as important as listening to your team and mentors.