Are You Building Your Resilience as a Manager?

As a manager, you face a huge number of challenges on a daily basis – from solving problems and resolving conflicts amongst your team, to dealing with tight deadlines and stretched resources. All of this can take a toll over time, leading to feelings of burnout, stress and overwhelm. That’s why actively cultivating your personal resilience is so important. Resilient managers are able to bounce back from adversity, change and difficult situations without getting knocked down. They are able to maintain their drive, optimism and health even under high pressure.

Here are some tips for building your resilience as a manager:

Take care of yourself first. You can’t pour from an empty cup. Make sure you are eating healthy, exercising, getting enough sleep and taking time for yourself to recharge. Even small self-care habits can strengthen your resilience over time.

Set healthy boundaries. Don’t let your work bleed too far over into your personal life. Disconnect from email on evenings and weekends whenever possible. Taking breaks helps ensure you don’t get overworked and risk burning out.

Connect with others. Building strong connections with colleagues, employees, friends and family provides social support and strengthens your resilience. Having people you can confide in makes challenging times easier.

Adopt a growth mindset. View obstacles as opportunities for growth. Maintain the self-belief that you can learn and improve through effort and persistence. This mentality allows you to turn difficulties into chances to get better.  

Cultivate optimism. Focus on what is going well and within your control, rather than dwelling on the negative parts of a situation that can’t be changed. This helps you maintain motivation and hope.

Get comfortable being uncomfortable. Resilience means being able to operate effectively even when things are difficult and uncertain. Push yourself incrementally to get used to discomfort – whether that means taking on a challenging new project or having a difficult conversation. The more you practice managing adversity, the more resilient you become.

Prioritise self-care. Make time for healthy habits like exercise, nutritious meals, social connection and practices like mindfulness or journaling. Taking good care of yourself builds the energy and focus required to handle work challenges from a resilient state of mind.

Building your personal resilience takes commitment and practice, but it pays huge dividends for managing workload, stress and change as a leader. Invest in strengthening your resilience, and you’ll find challenges begin to feel more manageable over time.

Start Building Your Resilience Today

Strengthening your personal resilience takes time, but you can start taking small steps today. Identify one habit that would help build your resilience – maybe it’s setting a new boundary around after-hours work emails or adopting a short daily mindfulness practice. Leverage existing support systems too – who are the people that always energise you that you can connect with more consistently? 

Getting intentional about resilience now will serve you well in both your professional and personal life long-term. As the old saying goes: “the best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago, the next best time is now.” Don’t put off taking care of yourself and developing resilience skills until you desperately need them. Being preventative enables you to operate from a place of strength rather than just reacting out of necessity when already feeling overwhelmed or depleted.

Focus on Progress Over Perfection

Changing habits requires focus and commitment, but you don’t have to do everything perfectly right from the start. It’s natural for new routines to feel awkward at first. Maybe you stick with your new workout regimen or mindfulness practice some weeks more consistently than others. Don’t beat yourself up over slip ups. Progress builds resilience too. Note any small wins along the way, and be patient with yourself. Building resilience is like growing muscle – it happens gradually over time. 

Support Your Team in Developing Their Resilience Too

Finally, leverage your role as manager to foster resilience amongst your whole team as well. Promote norms and practices that contribute to work-life balance, self-care, social connections and ongoing development for employees too. It shouldn’t just be on individual contributors alone to “tough it out” when work feels overwhelming and stressful for long periods of time. Building a culture that values resilience strengthens your entire organisation for the long haul.

So take that first step, focus on progress over perfection, and support your team too. You’ve got this! Building resilience as a manager benefits everyone.

Bob Bannister

Ships Captain