4 Tips to Improve Resilience and Empower Leaders to Face Fear (Leadership Development)
In a world of accelerating change and disruption, (and where unprecedented unpredictability is an everyday reality), how might Paradoxical Leadership Development positively impact your growth goals?
How might these paradoxical tips equip others to tackle fear, and become more productive and resilient?
You may be asking, “What on earth is Paradoxical Leadership Development?”
It’s not a term that we hear often, is it? When I Googled “paradox,” I found this definition…
A seemingly absurd or contradictory statement which, when investigated, may prove to be well-founded or true.
“Saving lives and saving livelihoods,” might be one of the biggest paradoxes we’re facing during this Covid Craziness, don’t you think?!?
So, how might Paradoxical Leadership benefit your sales teams in a Covid-19, fear-crazed world?
Identify Leadership Development Paradoxes
I started my writing spree in 2010 with these eBooks:
- Compensation Compass: A guide to bottom-line results and sales performance with compensation design,
- Management Acceleration: Tips to shift your sales into high gear and get you back on the road to success,
- Measuring Sales DNA: Knowing which salespeople will succeed or fail
- Smart Sales Coaching: Using assessment data to better target your coaching effectiveness
- Targeted Sales Focus: Narrow your market and focus your sales efforts to drive results
And, one of my favorites to write was Leadership Shift: Paradoxical Wisdom for Transformational Leaders in These Times of Change! I write about several paradoxes we deal with in our leadership journey. For example:
- How do you hold your salespeople accountable without micro-managing them, even in the midst of unpredictability and fear?
- How do you motivate, and still make the tough, sometimes unpopular, decisions when the team seems to be distracted by the recent fear-inducing media headlines?
I believe that paradoxical leadership wisdom is more critical than ever! Improving resilience and empowering the leaders on our leadership and sales teams to face fear in an era of accelerating change and disruption.
Every day we’re dealing with seemingly conflicting strategies:
- The need to focus forward…
- while it feels that economic uncertainty is blinding the path forward.
- The need to be creative…
- while applying the discipline that builds momentum towards reaching audacious goals…when there’s a new obstacle that emerges every day.
- The need to remain hopeful…
- while hearing gloom and doom predictions across every media outlet 24/7.
- The need to capitalize on the opportunities of adversity…
- while feeling stressed out and tired from dealing with non-stop Covid issues.
Harness the Leadership Development Benefits from Paradoxes
So, how might you create breakthrough results…even with shifts happening at a breakneck pace?
Here are some tips on how you can use paradoxical leadership to capitalize on today’s challenges…
Leadership Development Paradox #1:
When the smoke of the present blinds you, be Future-Focused.
The chaos of your current circumstances can act as a dense cloud of smoke. It seems impossible to clear the smoke and to see the way forward. It feels as if economic uncertainty is blinding the path forward.
Yet, if we allow the smoke to penetrate our thinking, we become stuck personally. Then, we’re unable to create a positive, compelling vision that inspires our teams.
In Millennials Matter, I recommend a smoke-clearing process – Energize Your Dreams. This practical workbook walks participants through a step-by-step process to gain crystal clear clarity on personal and professional goals.
Personal-professional integration is crucial for long-term resilience and performance. Both dimensions must be integrated, supporting each other.
With this future-focused, Energize Your Dreams, approach, you can guide salespeople and sales leaders to clear the smoke away, and see who they want to be and what they want to do in life. It walks them through a process of integrating all areas of their life (relationally, physically, intellectually, spiritually, and financially.)
If you’d like to check out this resource, send me an email at Danita@DanitaBye.com with Energize Your Dreams in the subject line.
Leadership Development Solution
Embrace a Future-Focused mindset by asking questions that start with “what.”
For example, you might ask your salesperson, “What” might you do to improve the robustness of your pipeline?”
To learn more about the power of “what,” check out this video.
Leadership Development Paradox #2:
Cultivate Disciplined Creativity.
Wow, another big paradox! We don’t normally link creativity to discipline, do we? However, “coloring outside the lines” requires lines in the first place. Just as, “thinking outside the box,” requires a box! Creativity, without discipline, fizzles out when it’s time to execute the plan.
In our Millennials Matter survey, many business leaders were concerned with Millennials’ lack of resiliency and ability to bounce back from setbacks. This is an increasing concern as it seems there’s a new obstacle that emerges every day.
When we’re struggling to reach our goals, the easy way out is to shift blame, make excuses, and point our fingers at someone or something else. In our culture, this is easy to do.
Unfortunately, the results of our addiction to blaming, excuse-making, and finger-pointing are that we turn our backs on our own, unique, God-endowed brilliance. We throw away our creativity, our genius, and our ability to be creative problem solvers.
So, we need to strengthen our salespeople’s and our sales leaders’ capacity to be disciplined to not only be innovative but to adopt an ownership approach to problem-solving. This discipline builds momentum towards reaching audacious goals.
Leadership Development Solution
Ask questions that include the words “might” and “do.” This ignites the Innovation Mindset that drives creative problem-solving.
When you invite your team to ask questions that include the word “I” you strengthen their Ownership Mindset. By taking ownership of their reality, your Millennials expand their flexibility, effectiveness, and influence. The blame game stops, as they start asking, “What might “I” do to make a positive impact on this difficult situation?”
During Sales Strategy Meetings ask, “What “might” you do to turn your weak pipelines around?”
Check out these videos:
Leadership Development Paradox #3:
Capitalize on the Energy of Adversity.
When adversity strikes, fear, anxiety, and increased stress sap our energy. It’s natural to go into panic mode. Or, get depressed. Many are feeling stressed out and tired from dealing with non-stop Covid issues.
However, a productive mindset strives to turn big problems into stepping-stones that lead to bigger success.
In Millennials Matter, I write about a word that is part of my heritage and my childhood. Sisu. To explain the meaning of the word, I quoted the work of Emilia Lahti, who has a Ph.D. in sisu. Emilia says, “At its core sisu is the idea that there is more strength to us than what often meets the eye. Sisu means to exceed yourself, take action against slim odds, and transform barriers into frontiers.”
Here’s how I summarize it on page 141 of Millennials Matter, “Leaders who possess a sisu spirit sign up for seemingly impossible tasks. They step out despite their fears and take action against long odds.”
Salespeople and sales leaders with a sisu spirit have determination, are resilient, and take the necessary actions to shape positive outcomes.
Leadership Development Solution
When a Future-Focus, Innovation, and Ownership are tied to the discipline of an Action Mindset, salespeople and sales leaders generate the momentum needed to set the wheels in motion for achieving audacious goals.
For example, they can ask, “What might I “do” to make a positive impact on this difficult situation?”
Check out this video: on Action/ Do
Leadership Development Paradox #4:
Instill Hopeful Realism.
How can you be realistic and hopeful at the same time during this crazy Covid chaos, where many hear gloom and doom predictions across every media outlet 24/7?
I believe the most optimistic leaders are also the most realistic. They don’t ignore the challenges and roadblocks. When faced with uncertainty, chaos, and disruption on all fronts, they never give up.
I often reflect on how my dad managed to “rescue” his brand-new John Deere tractor from a thawing sinkhole. The situation was hopeless. Many would have given up on that tractor. Not my dad! That day I learned that being stuck, literally or figuratively, is no match for one’s mental strength and external resources. His attitude toward adversity was one of realistic optimism. He had hopefulness and confidence that got him through many difficult situations. This kind of optimism expects good outcomes even when facing tough circumstances.
Leadership Development Solution
By asking questions that include the words “to make a positive impact,” we challenge our sales teams and sales leaders to think about serving others. An Optimistic Mindset uncovers the opportunities hiding behind today’s headaches and setbacks. These opportunities include serving others.
For example, suggest your salespeople and sales leaders ask themselves, “What might I do to make a positive impact?”
What other leadership development paradoxes do you encounter in your work?
Watch this short video on my favorite Paradoxical Commandments for 2021
Paradoxical Leadership Development Inspiration
Some years ago, I met Dr. Kent Keith, author of “The Paradoxical Commandments.” Every single time I read the poem, I’m challenged to stop, think, and reflect on my own leadership beliefs and behaviors.
I ask myself, “What might I do to make a positive impact? How might I help others to tackle fear and become more productive and resilient?
Great question, huh?
I asked for permission to publish the poem and to create a plaque to give to my clients. I still have it on a shelf in my office. To learn how I met the author, see this article.
The Paradoxical Commandments
by Dr. Kent M. Keith
People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.
If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.
If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.
The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.
Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.
The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.
People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.
What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.
Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.
© Copyright Kent M. Keith 1968, renewed 2001
Yes, the disruption and changes are accelerating at breakneck speed. Yes, unprecedented unpredictability is an everyday reality. Yes, these Paradoxical Leadership Development tips might positively impact your sales growth strategies.
I look forward to hearing your thoughts and success stories on these ideas.
Leadership Development Lesson:
Be intentional in coaching your salespeople to look deeper than the seemingly impossible – then they can turn paradoxes into leadership development triumphs.
Leadership Development Question:
What will you do to coach your salespeople to find the paradoxical wisdom in every situation?