Being a leader is not easy. It can be a tough slog. Hopefully the positives outweigh the negatives, but there will be days when your resilience is tested and you begin to question your path.

Uspire are delighted to have known Steve Wood for many years. Right now, he is Group Operations Director at Butchers Petcare in the UK. Steve has been a regular contributor on the subject of leadership on LinkedIn. Steve is a continuous source of insight and inspiration in this space, and can be heard on the Uspire Lunchtime Webinar – Exceptional Leadership Journeys.

Here are Steve’s 7 ways to stay strong and resilient:

1. Develop a support based network

Effective leadership is not about standing alone and making all the decisions in isolation: build a network of colleagues, mentors and team members who will listen at times of stress and high challenge.

Do not be afraid of this. Reaching for support is NOT a sign of weakness but maturity. We all need support at some point.

2. Be clear about your personal “Why” and stay true to it.

Have clarity in your core purpose as a leader and periodically calibrate yourself against it.

Keep your guiding principles and values at the heart of your approach. No matter what the challenge, it is important you are comfortable in the style that you adopt whilst staying true to your values.

3. Place adversity in context

See adversity as a stage in the cycle of improvement and progress, this will allow you to use it as an opportunity to learn and develop.

Do not allow adversity to become a perpetual state of mind, and certainly do not let it define your body language and messages to your colleagues.

It is a phase and nothing more. One that we all face at some time.

4. Develop a growth mindset and approach

Build a mindset that accepts you can always learn and improve by listening to others, assessing your own performance (both good and bad), and challenging yourself.

This will help you define challenges as opportunities to build solutions and not as problems.

5. Don’t dwell in the rear-view mirror – move on

The past, whilst helping us to learn, should not be your primary focus. The temptation to feel sorry for yourself and say “if only” will erode leadership effectiveness.

Take the lessons quickly and look to apply the learnings to your next challenge. It is impossible to change the past, and as a leader you should be shaping the future through vision and inspiration.

6. Stay focused on what you can influence

Focus on what you can change – not what you cannot.

Be a realistic optimist and don’t create situations that set you up for failure. Have a progressive mindset that is moving you and your teams forward in a positive direction.

All achievements are achievements, no mater how small. Never belittle progress.

7. Don’t take yourself too seriously – wear a smile.

Self-pity and self-obsession don’t help. Accept you are not perfect and always wear a smile in difficult situations. Sometimes having fun can help put things in context and allow you to face challenges in a step-by-step fashion.

A leader who wears a smile will inspire far more than one who carries negative emotions.

With grateful thanks to Steve Wood.

The Uspire Group

Through our leadership development and commercial capability focus, Uspire help businesses create and manage successful commercial teams. We make businesses stronger and more resilient through internal champions who own the change programmes we co-create and co-deliver. We call this “champion-led change”

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The Network, from Uspire, is a unique elite programme of commercial coaching, mentoring and peer-based learning and development, that combine to create the finest Commercial Leaders in the world.