The 4 Traits of Resilient Leaders

Resilient people. We admire them. We marvel at the goal they held in spite of the odds, at the way they tirelessly pursued that goal, and at the way their spirit was never broken throughout it all -- not enough to stop them. They kept going. They kept fighting. They continued to move forward.

They also inspire us to be better people and to do great things. We want to be just like them. And, quite frankly, we can. We can become more resilient by modeling our behavior after resilient people. How? It's simple. Did you know that resilient people tend to exhibit four specific traits across the board? Those traits are:

• Confidence
• Purpose
• Social Support
• Adaptability

It should follow then that if we adopt these traits as our own and work toward growing them and developing ourselves in the process, we can very well achieve resiliency in our own lives. Let's examine each of these traits in depth.


Resilient people tend to be confident in their own abilities. They focus on what they do well rather than what they struggle with, and they celebrate their achievements. In addition, something that research shows is important is that they learn continuously. It seems that building your skills enhances your sense of self confidence and competence, and as a result, that lends itself to enhanced resilience.

Do you currently devote any time to personal edification? Do you challenge yourself? Do you give yourself the opportunity to grow and your mind the opportunity to expand? After all, research has shown that even into our 60s and 70s, new brain cells are still growing. Are you putting those new brain cells to good use?

Remember also that confident people focus on what they do well rather than what they struggle with. Sometimes, we can get so caught up in our failures and so consumed by our weaknesses. We beat ourselves up over these things, not realising that doing so only diminishes our confidence. However, when we instead shift our focus to our strengths, the story changes. Suddenly we see that there are things (plenty of them) that we do rather well. When we give them due attention, we increase our confidence levels because these things we do well are typically things that come naturally to us. We hardly have to give a second thought to them. They help us to feel strong and competent.

What are your strengths? What are your abilities? What are your unique talents? Start to bring them centerstage and pay closer attention to them. Celebrate them. Utilize them more frequently. You'll find that you'll begin to feel more confident than ever.


Resilient people have a clear sense of purpose -- their "why" for life. Do you have a purpose that's driving you? Is there something that you're waking up for every morning, something that compels you to overcome any obstacle that comes your way? What's your personal mission statement? What are the mission statements for your career, your finances, your family, etc.?

When we understand why the things we do are important (including why we are alive at all), we can endure setbacks just fine because we keep our eyes focused on what it is we're heading toward. We keep pressing on. We keep moving forward. We work toward our goals with the utmost persistence, solving any problems that arise because failure is not an option. Resilient people have mastered this trait, and it allows them to continually put one foot in front of the other.


Resilient people maintain relationships with family, friends, and people they connect with to share the burdens as well as the triumphs of life. They are also comfortable reaching out when they need help because they value the support of others. Do you have a support group of your own? If so, how can you lean on them more during times of change? If not, who are some people you can begin to reach out to?

In addition, resilient people place self nurturing as a priority in their lives. They take time out, to renew, refresh, relax and do the things they love. Is this a staple in your own life? It's amazing just how many people go about their lives constantly giving, helping, contributing...and yet they never take pause to recharge. It's no wonder why a number of individuals report feeling overly stressed and over-worked in their lives. It's gotten to the point where it's almost an epidemic. Examine your own weekly schedule and ask yourself if you're devoting enough time to nourishing mind, body, and soul. If not, make some necessary adjustments and pay mind to how nurturing yourself helps you to feel more supported.


Resilient people are adaptable and flexible. They understand that some things are beyond their control, and they choose their battles wisely. They cope well with change because they see it as part of life's journey, and they embrace it rather than fight it.

Optimism plays a key part in that adaptability. It keeps people focused on what is going right in life rather than on the negative. It is also important to note that when we are optimistic and operating from a positive emotional state, we are more resourceful. We solve problems more effectively, and we have better access to our higher order thinking capacity. This allows us to see opportunities and look for the chance to take action in change. On the flip side, when we are feeling negative, we are not resourceful at all because our focus shifts to everything that is going wrong.

Do you tend to see the glass as half-empty or as half-full? It may just determine whether or not you're able to adapt to change and bounce back on a quicker timeline. The next time change enters your life and brings what seems like bad news with it, reframe the situation. What are the positive things that you can still lay claim to? How are you still powerful? What are you still able to do? What hasn't changed? Focus on those things, and in them, you will find the strength to rise above the negative.

We each face our own giants in life, and we all need to be empowered in our own unique ways to defeat those giants. So no matter how big or small the change you currently face or will face at some time in the future, remember that resilience is completely attainable. One of the easiest ways to develop your resilience is to simply model the behavior of those who are resilient. Instead of getting stuck in change and growing stagnant, you can move forward in a healthy, productive, and fulfilling way that strengthens you and makes you wiser for it.