17 July 2019


The resilient leader - workshop 2 notes (17 July 2019)

Defining the resilient leader

  • Someone with good self-awareness and able to meet their own needs (self-care)

  • Someone who truly buys into an organisation’s culture and is authentic when demonstrating this in practice

  • Offering acknowledgement to colleagues and saying ‘thank you’

  • A strong communicator who can influence others

  • An ability to challenge undermining behaviour

  • Someone who is decisive but who listens to others to support decision-making

  • Can take criticism and change / can accept when they are wrong

  • Can accept that he/she cannot be good at everything so it’s important to trust the views of the team around them

  • Taking care around the difference between being resilient as an individual and the impact you are having on your team and others around you (see Donald Trump example below)

  • Having flexibility and being prepared to adapt to each situation

  • Must accept they cannot be good at everything and take on the burden to deliver on behalf of their business

  • Someone who leads by example to define a positive organisational culture, and to be authentic when practising the organisational values

Named examples of resilient leaders:

Nick Hulme (NHS) – changing the culture and taking the brunt of comments
Donald Trump – much debate about how far he was inwardly resilient as an individual versus the impact on the outward resilience of the country and people he leads.
Owen Morgan – captain of English cricket team
Gareth Southgate

What are the factors that are likely to test the resilience of our leaders?

  1. Brexit / politics

  2. Skill shortages

  3. New technology e.g. artificial intelligence

  4. Process / system changes

  5. Employees working later into life / ageing workforce

  6. Maintaining a good reputation and retaining good employees

  7. Competition in company culture

  8. Sectors that aren’t growing – those that need to make tough decisions about employees

What does your organisation do to support its leaders to be resilient? What is missing?

  • Encouraging social events, reducing blame between leader and team

  • Supporting workplace training eg Suffolk Mind / workplace mental health

  • Building in flexibility including trust when employees are working from home

  • Business coaching / life coaching / leadership development training / mentoring

  • Internal hiring and growing up through the ranks

  • Acting early rather than fire fighting

  • Good cascade of information (good or bad)

  • Ability and expectation to delegate

  • Step up training / follow-on training for staff that have been in a leadership role for years but with initial leadership training that may have been many years ago

Example 1 - Wellbeing champions

Wellbeing champions are in place to act as advocates for good workplace wellbeing to support the culture of the business. However, they are not empowered to act independently and must seek permission to implement ideas, which takes time. This also still comes in second place to core client work. The leadership must be willing to trust and support the champions to act in the best interest of the business.

Example 2 – leaders must practice what they preach

In a very fast-paced environment, where deadlines are immediate, managers are often the worst offenders by not putting what they preach into action. Workplace wellbeing can be seen as a ‘nice to have’ rather than an essential component of the company culture.

What can support leaders in these situations is formal models such as 360 feedback, peer support from other leaders and being more prepared to listen to employees’ ideas.

Treatt case study – key points

  • Trust is an essential ingredient of corporate culture

  • The ethos is to put people first and invest in them – the benefits of this far outweigh any cost

  • Employees collaborated to create company values – the values came from them, not from management

  • No such thing as “you need to make the time up later”. Whether employees need to take their pet to the vet, get the car repaired or are delayed on the way to work, Treatt never asks them to make the time up. Important to treat employees as adults, trust them and they will be loyal to the business. This includes telling the honest truth about business performance.

  • Working and financial benefits offered to employees, which are themselves informed by listening to staff

  • The building blocks of a positive, trusting culture must be in place. You can’t simply introduce “wellbeing” if that culture is not right first

  • Leaders must not only help define the culture, but ‘live it’ too. It has to be authentic and real

  • It’s important that people have fun!

Workshop two - business leader views and what health and well being models they currently have in place: