Leading in troubling times or in the face of any kind of change requires resilience. Leaders need to keep going. They have to keep the lights on, but also set an example for and actively support team members. A resilient leader has tools to rely on to help her through these situations. We don’t develop resiliency overnight, but there are things we can do to build it.
A peer network can be a great source tool. In researching his book, Leadership and the Art of Struggle, Steven Snyder interviewed exceptional leaders from different sectors.
“The leaders I interviewed had strong social support systems, and they tapped into them during difficult times. Not only did they get the support and encouragement they needed to keep going, but also their social support system was an important source of new ideas and inspiration.” – Steven Snyder, Why Is Resilience So Hard?
But leadership can often be an isolated and isolating role. Executive Directors and CEOs don’t have peers within their own organization. So, building a network can be difficult:
“We’ve found that networking—creating a fabric of personal contacts who will provide support, feedback, insight, resources, and information—is simultaneously one of the most self-evident and one of the most dreaded developmental challenges that aspiring leaders must address.” – Herminia Ibarra and Mark Lee Hunter, How Leaders Create and Use Networks
Leadership Circles can help. These Circles consist of facilitated discussions among a regular, small group of leaders. These Circles can be an excellent way of creating a peer network and providing support to leaders.