Tough Economy; Resilient Leaders

As many business and political leaders have experienced and learnt over the last 6 years ,since the 2008 economic crisis, is that it requires real leadership to survive and thrive. Our local South African economy is facing an uncertain year, with potential power outages, labour challenges and a changing political landscape. The ability to continue to make quality decisions and provide direction is critical, as well as keeping your team engaged, when often the rewards of success that you could use as motivational levers have diminished. Also without saying the ability to adapt and change one’s thinking, mental models on how business “should” work, to addressing the new reality that you are now facing is fundamental. The following are key leadership capabilities and behaviours that define the resilient leaders.

Remain Proactive and Lead

The fundamental requirement of leaders is not to be sucked into a potentially spiralling set of negative sentiment and external operating environmental factors. Rather the requirement is to spend a meaningful amount of time thinking about, and defining where you choose to be based on the reality you face. It requires conscious effort to maintain this positive forward focused mindset, and not be seduced by what we don’t have or want conversations.


Simple, what are you changing, and perhaps more importantly what are you letting go of. It is our mental models, or more specifically our previous definitions of success that will drown us in the lake of negative sentiment like a ton of bricks. We need to release our definitions of where value is created and redefine our criteria for success and hence business focus.

Keep People Engaged

You cannot succeed alone, and just as we have to innovate and redefine our criteria for business success, there needs to be as rapid a re-definition for our people of how we measure their success and contribution. Often this is the last thing to be changed, and by the time we realise it we have lost or disengaged a significant portion of our most productive workforce. Who do you need to drive this new direction, what do you expect of them and most importantly don’t expect yourself to have all the answers get them participating in the decision making and innovation from the get go. One of the primary predictors of resilience is the individual or leaders ability to obtain support from others.

Written by: John Brodie

Career, Consulting, Talent