Global Leadership Network UK & Ireland

GLN UK & Ireland

How’s Your Resilience?

Mike Hill CEO GLN UK and Ireland

A great question!

One of the issues being talked about in light of certain cultural trends is the need for resilience.

Interestingly, commentators argue that what was always trumpeted as a national characteristic is now less true than it was. Without any pre-ordained plan, we have replaced a culture of resilience – characterised by flourishing in the face of adversity – with a culture of safety.

A couple of years ago I was speaking with the leader of an eminent educational establishment. The college had about 450 students. She told me that if she had forgotten the name of any one of those students, she would be accused of an act of ‘microaggression’.

Microaggression is a modern term used for ‘commonplace daily verbal or behavioural indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory or negative attitudes, toward stigmatised or culturally marginalised groups’ (italics mine).

In other words, don’t offend minority groups intentionally or unintentionally.


But in our Principal’s case, wrong! She simply had a major task memorising so many names!

Resilience in Practice

Researcher Marcus Buckingham has some important things to say in this year’s GLS about building resilience in your leadership.* It’s a message I believe we all need to pay attention to.

Why is resilience a good thing? Because it helps you cope with adversity. Many Christians are feeling under threat at present. Some in other countries are being killed simply for their faith. Martyrdom is not done with.

Yet Jesus said, “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me” (Matthew 5:11). Jesus knew that he needed to build resilience into his believers to enable them to face the cost of discipleship.

Why is this?

  • Resilience will enable you to stand in the face of opposition.
  • Resilience will help you lead well and maintain a blend of people-focussed and task-focussed leadership. In the face of opposition too many leaders resort to taking it personally and/or making it personal. When you do this, you lose focus on the task and likely adopt the wrong strategies for dealing with your critics!
  • Resilience will help you reflect more objectively on the real nature of the opposition you face.
  • Resilience will help you listen to your critics and weigh up what they say.

The obvious thing to say is that a lack of resilience in our leadership will lead to the mirror opposite of the above being modelled.

Much more could be said, and I dare say I will revisit the issue again given our cultural climate.

In the meantime, I’m glad you’ll soon be hearing from researcher Marcus Buckingham at the GLS. He says some important things about resilience and how we might build it into our ability to lead well. It’s vital that we do.**

To your leadership survival…

Mike Hill
CEO GLN UK & Ireland

*Marcus looks at the following during his GLS20 talk:

  • Core Components of Resilience
  • How Senior Leaders Can Build Resilience in Teams
  • How Team Leaders Can Build Resilience in Teams
  • How Individuals Can Build Resilience in Themselves

We’ll be sharing more about this at next week’s webinar.

**It’s worth noting that, according to independent research, 89% of GLS attendees have gained courage to lead despite opposition.