Resilience is Foundational To High-Performance Leadership

It goes without saying that the last couple of years have been extremely challenging. One way or the other, our lives have been upended. The amount of stress, depression, overwork, burnout have all gone through the roof.

The research proves this out: the percentage of Americans who report experiencing a lot of stress and worry has skyrocketed (jumping 15-20 percentage points) since the start of the pandemic, and more so for those of us who work remotely. [Gallup National Health and Well-Being Index]

Leaders have boatloads more stress right now – as the pandemic has created myriad challenges, from supply chain bottlenecks, to managing remote teams, to attracting and retaining workers, to the new demands for well-being at work.

The question, then, is how do we skillfully navigate the challenges and negative emotions without exploding into nastiness, melting into a little ball, or retreating to our darkened closets? How do we not just limp through with the hope that things go back to normal, but reemerge stronger?

How do we bolster ourselves and our teams such that we are better able to manage the ups and downs with more equanimity AND creativity, energy, and success? To reemerge stronger, we need to first build our own inner reserve.

I dive deep into the topic of building inner reserve in my Brainz Magazine article. One of my main points in the article is this: developing and maintaining resilience is foundational to our ability to show up at our best, to lead at our highest level and to create the kind of workplace at which everybody looks forward to coming to do their best work every day.

Does that sound like hyperbole?

Consider the following:

  1. Negative encounters are like Velcro and positive like Teflon.
  2. When our resilience is low, our reactivity goes up. And so do the number of negative and unskillful encounters.

Unskillful reactions are the ones that start clients or customers thinking about another provider and cause employees to start thinking about a new gig. After all, who wants to be around a group where everyone’s hair is on fire?

What about the opposite scenario? When our resilience is high, our reactivity is reduced. We are better able to use the executive functioning part of our brain, and therefore think things through strategically and creatively. We create positive experiences that keep our clients happy and employees engaged.

But wait, there’s more:
The more resilience you have, the better you are going to be able to build and lead high-performing teams. The single most important need of high-performing teams is psychological safety. The higher the level of psychological safety, the more the team members are likely to stay at their job, harness diverse ideas, work effectively, and bring in more revenue.

Hold the phone… does building resilience sound as fun to you as drinking orange-flavored Metamucil? The kind of thing that you know is good for you, but is rather unpleasant?

Consider this: When we learn the handful of tools that help us build resilience, we are actually learning skills that allow us to experience more inner peace, more positivity, more success, and more joy — all the things that make life (and work) better. What’s more, learning resilience skills is something you can do on your schedule, and you don’t need to buy a $2500 stationary bike to get started.

To learn more about how resilience is key to high-performance leadership and building psychological safety for your teams, read the full article on Brainz . It will be way better than drinking orange-flavored Metamucil. I promise.

Want to learn easy to practice skills to develop your resilience? Our free HeadTraining email series can get you started today. Learn more by visiting

I encourage you to pop back here to leave a comment after you read the full article to let us know what your biggest take-away is, and of course ask any questions that come up.

About the author

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Bruce heads BolsterUp, a coaching and consulting firm. Along with his colleagues, he guides clients in improving employee experience, creating high-performing teams, and increasing well-being and joy at work. BolsterUp helps forward-thinking leaders make their organization the place everyone wants to work.

Bruce specializes in helping teams work better together and managers to lead more effectively through better partnering, communication, and understanding. He coaches internationally, focusing on strengths-based development, professional capability-building, peak performance, resilience, and well-being.