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Leadership in Adversity - Webinar

  • ID: 4985755
  • Webinar
  • March 2020
  • Region: Global
  • 90 Minutes
  • NetZealous LLC
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One of the most important qualities of a leader is resilience. Today's leaders are getting barraged with roadblocks, let-downs and failed attempts at success. The true grit of a leader is not how they perform during the good times but rather how they display emotional strength, courage and professionalism during the most trying times.

Teams rely on me to be strong, composed and to focus on the intended goals. They needed leaders not to reflect any of the negativity that was surrounding them, but to frame the chaos as an opportunity for everyone to grow. Teams need a leader who will support them and listen to their concerns, but not allow them to stray from what we were trying to accomplish.

Using 30 years of research focused on veterans, holocaust survivors at risk children, and female professionals, the people who grew and learned from their adversities were found to have many commonalities. The researchers identified six areas that all of them seemed to share time after time to build resiliency from staggering tragedy. Think of the cases of, Viktor Frankl, Elie Wiesel, Michael Ohre, Jim Carey, Michael Davis, the founder of 'Buddy Check 22!' for veterans with PTSD, William Alvarez, the Army Vet who turned to a hand cycle to heal his PTSD wounds, as well as many other examples.

Have you heard of the boy with the absent father and alcoholic mother? He came to school every day with a 'bread sandwich', two pieces of bread with nothing in between. His teacher noticed the boy wanted to make sure that “no one would feel pity for him, and no one would know the failures of his mother.” Each day, without fail, he would walk in to school with a smile on his face and a 'bread sandwich' tucked into his bag.

All these people faced crippling, devasting mental and physical trauma, but managed to raise themselves up beyond survival into thriving and meaningful purpose.

They see themselves as orchestrators of their own fates. One study showed that the subjects, on a scale that measured areas of control over one's fate, they scored more than two standard deviations away from the standardization group How can we capture that that ineffable quality that allows some people to be knocked down by life and come back at least as strong as before, if not even better? Rather than letting difficulties or failure overcome them and drain their resolve, they find a way to rise from the ashes. What research shows is that there is no test for resiliency, but resiliency depends on the way a life unfolds.

In fact, the studies demonstrate that most people don't know if they are resilient or not until adversity comes along, and when trauma continues to happen over time. A 25-year study at Columbia University showed that showed that traumatic events, no matter how negative they might seem, have the potential to be traumatic or not to the person experiencing it.

The study expands to show that teaching people to think of thinking of these events in different ways- to reframe them in positive terms when the initial response is negative, or in a less emotional way when the initial response is emotionally 'hot'- changes how they experience and react to the stimulus. You can train people to better regulate their emotions, and the training seems to have lasting effects.

Studies at the University of Pennsylvania by Martin Seligman show that when people can frame adversity as a challenge, and they become more flexible and able to deal with it, move on, learn from it, and grow. Focus on it, frame it as a threat, and a potentially traumatic event becomes an enduring problem; you become more inflexible, and more likely to be negatively affected. Decades of many studies show that resilience is, ultimately, a set of skills that can be taught.

Effective leaders have learned to cultivate a strong sense of self-confidence in their abilities. Effective leaders have a deep sense that he or she has done due diligence to prepare themselves for the leadership duties they are to carry out. An equally important element of self-confidence is a strong sense of self-awareness.

Effective leaders are aware of their own strengths and weaknesses and know when it is time to delegate responsibility to others in the organization who are better qualified to accomplish certain responsibilities. Leaders need to learn to face adversity with patience and perspective. Resiliency does not come through some mystical formula but comes as leaders begin to take each challenge in life as a learning experience, and as they learn to pick themselves up and keep going each time a new difficulty comes their way. References available upon request.
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Mary T. O'Sullivan,International Coach FederationMaster of Science, Organizational Leadership, ,- PCC, Society of Human Resource Management – SHRM-SCP, Master’s Certificate in Executive and Professional Career Coaching, University of Texas at Dallas. Member Beta Gamma Sigma, the International Honor Society. Advanced Studies in Education from SUNY Oswego and Syracuse University.
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