Micro-resilience refers to implementing small changes that can have transformational effects. These are skills you already possess and can build on every day.
One of the things about seasoned leaders is they’ve been through the proverbial ringer a few times and have bounced back better and stronger. It’s one of the reasons we seek leaders with solid, diverse experience. But that doesn’t mean you have to wait for storms to hit to learn how to weather them. Big events can teach us many things, but so can small ones. That’s why it is important as you climb the corporate ladder to focus on micro-resilience: quickly overcoming everyday disagreements in order to train our ability to overcome bigger ones.
There are three ways you can do this on a regular basis.
- Train your brain.
You need to learn what helps you to stay focused, especially after being interrupted.
As leaders, we are pulled in multiple directions all day, every day. The key to dealing with this is figuring out how to tune everything else out while we concentrate on one task at a time. Multi-tasking may sound efficient, but it dulls your effectiveness.
The exercise: look around yourself right now: is there a quick way you can create a zone to block out distractions? Open-door policies are great for being accessible, but maybe you can shut yours for 10 minutes, to get some time to yourself. Rather than a physical barrier, maybe you just block out time on your calendar, the same way you do meetings, to make sure you have quality time to think and breathe.
- Change your attitude.
Perspective is everything. Sometimes a simple exercise is all it takes to see possibilities where you have been seeing limitations.
The exercise: Write this sentence down on a piece of paper: A small but annoying challenge I am facing at work is ________________________. And fill in the blank with the appropriate answer.
Now take whatever you wrote in the blank and put it here: ________________ is giving me the opportunity to _________________________.
Remember, every downside has an upside: you just need to find it.
- Recognize primal reactions.
Bad things at work can trigger a flight or fight response. It’s important to recognize when small and yet strong emotions have been triggered so you can learn to calm yourself when the stakes are lower.
The exercise: Next time something stress-inducing triggers you at work, write down the feeling. For instance, if your proposal was not accepted, write down “I am angry” or “I feel under-appreciated.” Labeling the feelings can help you focus. At this point you may want to go to the exercise above and see where you can find opportunity.
Francesca Giulia Mereu
Genesis Leadership Consultant
An executive coach with more than 20 years’ experience, Francesca Giulia Mereu is also author of the book Recharge Your Batteries. She regularly works with Frontline Humanitarian Negotiators (CCHN) and at IMD with senior leaders of global organizations. She is a Genesis Leadership Consultant specializing in leadership transitions and development.