A successful leader must be able to adapt, inspire teams and make decisions under pressure. But what is resilient leadership, why is it important and how do you become a more resilient leader?

Let’s delve into the concept of resilient leadership, uncover its significance and provide valuable tips on becoming a more resilient leader. We’ll also discuss how pursuing an MBA can equip you with the strategies needed to enhance your leadership skills and become a resilient leader.

What is a resilient leader?

A resilient leader can effectively manage and adapt to disruptive changes, recover quickly from setbacks and navigate challenges while maintaining their composure under pressure. They do all this without compromising their integrity, as well as ensuring their actions support both the team and organisational goals and the mental and emotional wellbeing of those they lead.

Being a resilient leader demands a range of qualities, including emotional intelligence, problem-solving skills, optimism and effective communication. These traits empower leaders to navigate and confront challenges confidently and maintain their composure when faced with obstacles.

“Resilient leadership focuses on guiding teams through adversity, learning from the experience and building skills for future change,” says consultant and coach Amber Gladstone, founder of Progression.

Why is resilience important in leadership?

Resilience is the cornerstone of effective leadership, offering numerous advantages to both leaders and organisations. Leaders who embrace resilience can navigate changes and challenges more effectively, inspire their teams to persevere and make sound decisions in high-pressure situations.

A 2022 report from the Australian HR Institute (AHRI), states that employee resilience is one of the top four factors in the world of work that will be more important going forward than in the past five years. Leaders who can develop, practice and foster resilience are needed now more than ever.

The importance of resilience in leadership is something Amber understands well. “Change is constant. We can’t know or plan for everything. And, of course, with the pace of change increasing, not just in technology, but also social and economic change, we’re likely to experience more change than ever in the future.”

Resilience is also important in leadership because our perception is impacted by our expectations, particularly if we expect something to be stressful. Amber explains, “If we anticipate an event as stressful, our brain releases cortisol, narrowing our focus, and this might not always be beneficial. This can change your decisions and behaviour.

“Building your resilience builds your confidence in handling uncertainty, making you more likely to respond thoughtfully instead of just reacting on instinct.”

5 steps to becoming a resilient leader

Let’s take a look at some of the steps that may help you to become a resilient leader:

1. Practise self-awareness
Building resilience starts with self-awareness, a fundamental component of emotional intelligence. Leaders who understand their strengths, weaknesses and motivations are better equipped to guide their own decision making and to lead teams through challenging times.“

Resilient leaders build self-awareness through reflection, asking for feedback and taking on new challenges,” Amber says. “This includes knowing their limitations in that situation and knowing when to ask for help.”

2. Build strong relationships
“It’s important for leaders to have support systems both at work and outside of it,” says Amber.

For you to succeed at work and achieve your ambitions, it’s important to build and maintain professional relationships. However, it shouldn’t be at the expense of your personal relationships. These connections provide much-needed support to help you maintain a work-life balance. Focusing on building strong relationships through both forms of social connections equips you to handle professional and personal challenges and maintain a positive perspective.

3. Have interests outside of work
Amber says having a hobby or activity outside of work that is completely different to your workday can also boost your resilience. It could be almost anything, as long as it helps you to switch off and offers a change to your day-to-day leadership role. “For me, that’s ocean swimming, but for someone in a physical or outdoor job, it might be something creative.”

4. Take care of your overall wellbeing
It’s important to prioritise your wellbeing in order to become a resilient leader. Engaging in regular physical exercise not only enhances your physical wellbeing but also equips you to handle stress effectively and lead with resilience.

Adequate sleep, of about seven or eight hours per night, allows you to detach from work and recharge, and taking the time to practice mindfulness can also contribute to cultivating resilient leadership.

Taking time to celebrate, including small wins, is also important as this helps to highlight progress, which boosts morale, helping you to feel more resilient when things may be more challenging.

5. Continuous learning
Resilient leaders can approach challenges and failures as opportunities for growth and learning. Embracing setbacks and using them as a learning opportunity helps to develop agility in decision-making, helping to drive ongoing growth and success for the business and your team.

Organisational and team benefits of resilient leadership include increased engagement, faster learning and adaptability to change. Amber shares, “Team members feel more connected, motivated, and committed to their roles, and they are able to adapt and evolve more quickly.”

Are you ready for resilient leadership training? How an MBA can help

If you’re serious about developing your resilience as a leader, pursuing an MBA could be the right path for you. An MBA gives current and future leaders strategies that enhance leadership resilience as well as provide them with the necessary problem-solving, people management and decision-making skills to become a successful leader.

Students who study for their MBA at RMIT will benefit from the Personal Branding and Authentic Leadership core unit, which focuses on self-awareness and effective leadership. While MBA students at Victoria University will gain skills from the Art and Practice of Leadership unit, which equips leaders to face challenges head-on. These MBA courses provide you with strategies and knowledge to enhance your leadership resilience and become the future leader you want to be.

Strategies you learn as part of an MBA course that can also help you to become a resilient leader include:

  • focus and prioritisation
  • self-discipline
  • self-awareness
  • feedback and reflection
  • building and using a network

Develop your resilience as a leader

Ready to become a more resilient leader? Speak to a Student Enrolment Advisor today and discover how an MBA can help you achieve your leadership goals.

Speak to a Student Enrolment Advisor

Whether you’re ready to enrol, or just have a quick question, simply fill out the enquiry form below to speak directly to the university’s enrolment team. They will be able to guide you through:

Course eligibility and recognition of prior learning

Course structure and what you will study

Next intakes and how to apply

Fees and time commitments