9 Key Traits to Make Your Organization More Resilient

Even as some states begin to reopen, the pandemic and quarantine have already made a lasting impact on the way we work and the way we lead. While there may be a desire to say, “we are back to business as usual,” that would be risky and may prove to be a missed opportunity to seek new and better ways of doing business.

At the Gratitude Network, we observed that the strongest leaders are proactive and intentional during a crisis. They pay attention to their organizations and respond to challenges quickly while keeping a vigilant eye to the future.

Organizational leadership, we found, is not just about readiness; it is also about creating the future that the organization wants. In other words, your work as a leader is less about reacting to crisis and more about proactively building long-term resilience in all levels of your organization.

Here are 9 key traits to nurture in your organization that, when applied correctly, have the power to make your organization stronger and more resilient than ever.

Communication

In challenging times, over-communication is the name of the game for building trust for the future. Successful leaders consistently and clearly speak about what is important to ensure and facilitate the action of employees and teammates.

Planning

So much has changed during this health and economic crisis. Enhanced planning will serve the organization as it develops new business models and employee engagement. Great leaders are competent in strategic and scenario planning, and they utilize their team to participate in these processes.

Patience

Managing in a crisis and managing remotely require new levels of patience. It is not a trade-off between productivity and caring for employees. The strongest leaders embrace new ways of assessing productivity and accountability of teams, setting new or different performance standards for the organization, and creating supportive options for addressing concerns.

Empathy

Great leaders understand that organizations are made up of people, and empathy is the new leadership superpower. This goes beyond recognizing stress triggers and anxieties; great leaders create trust and confidence by watching, listening, and taking time to understand.

Inclusion

During these times, our differences may become more apparent: those with childcare concerns vs. those without young children, introverts vs. extroverts, those who are tech-savvy vs. those who prefer in-person communication. Additionally, different teams within a company may experience problems (and their solutions) differently. When diverse viewpoints and voices are included, changes will be better received.

Visibility

Top leaders need to be more visible to all levels of the organization for transparency of messages, priorities, and goals. Being present for employees in many different ways—from frequent company communications to ad hoc video Q&A sessions—will build the confidence of employees.

Curiosity

Great leaders encourage and develop curiosity within the organization. This ensures the best aspects of past and current environments will be considered in future work planning. Successful leaders create positive change by looking at what is currently working, seeking employee feedback, and taking deep dives into everything from work practices, to work balance, to performance.

Flexibility

Great leaders are clear about where their organization is going but flexible in how they get there. They remain mindful that not everything goes as planned. Getting mired in what we wanted or what should be is never healthy. Instead, great leaders understand that a variety of strategies is needed to embrace change.

Inspiration

Leaders are the preachers in this time when fragility is around every corner; they must maintain purposeful connections. Being inspirational while discussing objectives and operational oversight in a virtual world is challenging—but crucial for building a successful and resilient future. 

The Bottom Line

Great leaders create an environment of resilience for themselves, the individuals in the organization, and the teams that drive the work. 

Resilience is not just about persevering no matter what. Rather, resilience is a matter of considering possibilities and imagining a great future while removing boundaries to new ways of working and thinking.

That is where the 9 key traits come in: communication, planning, patience, inclusion, empathy, visibility, curiosity, flexibility, and inspiration.

To learn how to apply these traits to your organization and for more advice on leading through times of crisis, access our white paper here: http://gratitude-network.org/access-white-papers/  

If you’d like more information about our white paper series on “Exceptional Leadership in Times of Change,” the GOLD program, or Gratitude Network, please contact Ann Singer, Director of Programs & Events at ann@gratitude-network.org.