Discover how resilient leaders bounce back.
– 5 mins read –
In February, American Football fans saw Pete Carroll lead his team, the Seattle Seahawks, to the Super Bowl for the second year in a row. In the final minutes of play, with a second straight victory in sight, they lost – due to what is now considered the worst coach judgment call in Super Bowl history.
In this newsletter we share how Carroll and his team bounced back, and consider how to build resilience in leaders.
In this article:
We define resilience as the ability to bounce back after a (major) setback. Everyone makes mistakes and encounters setbacks, and those of us who don’t let ourselves be defined by them and successfully manage to give them a place and move on, will perform better over time.
How does a professional like Carroll, whose coaching integrates Tim Gallwey’s Inner Game concepts, do it? By adapting to the new situation and looking ahead.
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In an interview after the Super Bowl, Carroll reiterated that his team had practised that last play for months. They knew what they were doing. Had that fateful ball been caught, nobody would have doubted his call.
But the ball was not caught. This fact, however, hasn’t made him doubt himself, the quality of his team or the excellence of their sportsmanship. He understands that, even though they lost, they are by no means losers. Their focus is now on getting ready for the next season.
How does this lesson apply to the corporate workplace? When encountering major setbacks, adapting to the new situation is crucial for long-term success. And turning an upset into a set-up can be extremely powerful.
Resilient leaders have the confidence not to let “losses” or “mistakes” throw them off their game, they adapt to the new situation, and understand their responsibility in effectively coaching their team through the recovery process.
Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Harvard Business School professor and author of the book Confidence, wrote in the Harvard Business Review that the ability to learn from errors, and taking initiatives with a strong sense of purpose, are most important to being resilient. Successful leaders draw from a core set of values that motivate them to overcome the set-back and resume the path to success. From the trajectories of Hillary Clinton, Elliott Spitzer, and Pete Carroll we witness how major losses have not deterred them from continuing their inspiring journeys.
Being adaptive can be learned. Adaptive learning makes sense of the new situation and understands the needs to learn new ways to succeed. This is different from acquired learning which is the traditional way of learning, like we do in school.
Through adaptive learning you focus on new solutions, develop new ways of thinking, learn from the mistake, and develop the capacity to deal with a more complex perspective. Adaptive learners lead with meaning and purpose, whilst staying aligned with their values.
The more adaptive you are, the more resilient you will be, and the better you will lead your team through a transition.
How do you Learn Resilience?
At Performance Consultants International, we have developed Coaching for Performance, in which leaders and managers learn coaching skills to help their teams through transitions and improve the overall performance. Let’s discuss how we can help you meet your leadership development needs. Please contact us.
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