“Who am I”? Where resilience starts

Some leaders are like bouncy balls: Even under enormous pressure, they don’t get distorted, but retain their original shape. Some rise to even greater performance, as soon as the stress is on. Their secret weapon: resilience, inner strength. How can leaders increase it? How can they strengthen their backbone, especially in times of transformation? The first step: by getting to know themselves better.

To become a more stress-resistent leader, you have to be aware of where you start from. What are your strengths? How do you deal with stress? What are your strategies? I encourage you to be brutally honest with yourself, when answering these questions. Getting to the bottom of your personality might be uncomfortable. But it will pay off, when you face the next high-tide of stress.

Question No. 1: What are your strengths?

In “stressful” times, we might feel overwhelmed and mentally overloaded. How can we counteract that? By concentrating on our strengths! Think back to a past situation, in which you felt severely stressed: back then the challenge seemed to be formidable. Today, it seems less so – because you know, you have mastered it before. What was your strategy to do so? What character traits helped you out and how could you benefit from them in the future? With every challenge we face, we grow. Be proud of every small achievement and you can look into the future with optimism.

Question No. 2: What are your stress factors?

“Stress” is subjective. Find out, which situations are particularly stressful for you? Answering this question, you should separate external and internal factors. Is it the pace, high workload, tight deadlines, tensions from conflictual demands? Or are there simpler reasons, like you have not had enough sleep, you haven’t had enough sustenance or exercise? Try to identify and memorize the personal alarm signals telling you that you are “stressed” and “stretched”. Next time you feel them, you can immediately put your brain into the “stress fight mode”, which leads me to question 3.

Question No. 3: How do you react to stress?

Analysing your reaction to stress will bring about a varied picture. What are the “no-gos” you’d better avoid next time? What do you typically do well? And here you complete the circle, looking back to your strengths and how you can benefit from them. Set yourself some guidelines, when you are not stressed: your crisis manual for times of pressure.

Getting to know yourself better is an exciting, yet demanding, undertaking. Some frameworks, like MBTI, might help you to discover yourself even better, to understand what stretches you and triggers stress reactions and to consciously deal with stress situations. Yet these frameworks only put words on what you know anyway best, yourself! And knowing yourself well is the base to strengthen your leadership, especially when stakes are high in times of transformation.

Interested in finding out more? Want to share your own tips? Then please send in your comments!