Hitting Turbulence? Build Resilience - Proteus Leadership
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Hitting Turbulence? Build Resilience

It happened again. Something didn’t go according to plan. Things were running smoothly – and then you hit turbulence. Life will often bring unexpected challenges that could potentially throw leaders off course. When you hit turbulence, work on your resilience. You’ll reach better destinations.

Anyone who flies understands that turbulence, while annoying, is a normal part of flying.

Sometimes you can predict it. Other times, it occurs without warning.

Business turbulence

Turbulence is a natural part of business – and life. It can be a disruptive force that looks like any of the following:

  • The employee who quits unexpectedly
  • The important presentation you’ve just been told you must give tomorrow
  • The computer that crashed
  • The client project that got put on hold
  • The funding source you lost
  • The micro-manager who is too involved in your work
  • The mass mailing that went out with blatant errors

Sound familiar? You could probably name something that happened in the last week or so that shook you up, made you mad, or jeopardised your results.

Personal turbulence

Personal turbulence strikes when you’re forced to deal with family, relationship or personal problems, mental or physical health issues. When coupled with business challenges, the stress can be overwhelming.

Internal turbulence

Internal turbulence is the disruptive “self talk” that rattles around inside your head – that makes you doubt yourself, question your ability or assume the worst. It zaps your confidence.

Many leaders who exhibit signs of internal turbulence put too much pressure on themselves.

They have high expectations and standards for their success. They strive for perfection – and fear failure. They find it difficult to relax.

When you hit turbulence, the following can help you get through it:

Remain calm

Remember, turbulence is normal. While it’s important to have positive expectation, accept that gremlins may appear. When you see them, acknowledge their presence (“Hello, gremlin.”) instead of panicking. The more important the desired outcome, the bigger the monster that might try to get in your way. Be ready!

Capture your learning

What are you learning? If you’re not reflecting on what you’re learning as you deal with difficulty, you run the risk of repeating the problem. Process your learning. Keep moving.

Get clear perspective

To deal effectively with whatever is in your way, find a person or people you can turn to for feedback and perspective. You’re likely magnifying the issue – seeing a mountain instead of a molehill.

Seek growth

Where there is adversity, there is opportunity for growth. The more serious you are about growing yourself or your business, the more you will encounter growing pains. Those pains can be an impetus for needed change.

Remind yourself of past successes

Chances are the difficulties you’re facing have surfaced in some form before. You have worked through them in the past. You will again.

By Gayle Lantz
Published with permission from the International Institute of Directors and Managers (IIDM) – www.iidmglobal.com


Proteus Leadership is one of Australia’s premier leadership training and development companies. Proteus Leadership provides leadership courses and management training to a range of industries and assists organisations to build positive workplace cultures, implement change and Create Great Leaders. Proteus also facilitates a range of world-class management courses, workshops, conferences and events across Australia and beyond with the sole purpose of bringing leaders together to connect and grow.

“Our core purpose is to Create Great Leaders that will in turn build Great companies and develop Great teams.”