“The key to life is resilience…We will always be knocked down. It’s the getting up that counts.” – Dominique Browning
From the time we’re kids, people – parents, teachers, etc. – are always telling us be persistent, that “when the going gets tough, the tough get going”, and a bunch of similar things that tend to annoy you when you’re young. We agree that those things sound smart, and when we get older we repeat them.
But as leaders, do we really believe that? I ask this because now that we’re living in a world that’s tough, too many leaders don’t seem to get going. I’ve had too many conversations over the past couple of months with leaders who are doing a lot of self-pity. The world is uncertain, the future is uncertain, people are uncertain, and on and on. And of course, they’re right.
So what? Yes, those things are true, and certainly we can all empathize. We’re all living the same weirdness. But as a leader, it’s your job to pull your head up out of the mess and lead. It’s difficult, it’s maybe unpleasant, but it’s your job.
One of the most critical pieces of the culture of any business is leader behavior. If the leaders act like the sky is falling, everybody else will to. You, as the leader, have to be resilient. That doesn’t mean you have to pretend everything is OK when it isn’t. That’s not leadership, that’s just insulting to your people who can see that everything is in fact not OK.
But you have to be positive about the future, you have to believe that you will figure out a path through, and you have to communicate that belief and shine a light on that path as often as possible. You can provide energy for the others in the business or you can take it from them. Your job is to be the provider. So get up off the mat and get to work.