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Resilient and agile leadership

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Ayse Cinar, Wellbeing and Leadership Coach, explores why resilience and agility is the key to thriving in business post Covid-19. 

What kind of future do you want to see and where do you want to be in 2025?

Let`s keep in this mind and have a look at the present.
Today, many women entrepreneurs are hit harder by Covid-19 challenges compared to their male counterparts. The EU Commission’s latest report highlights that women either work in or run business mostly in sectors that are worst affected by the crisis, such as retail, accommodation, hospitality, residential care, and domestic work. Closures among small and medium businesses during lockdown have been higher among those led by women. Female-led businesses also tend to be smaller and have less financial support behind them, making them more vulnerable to economic uncertainties. For example, for every £1 of venture capital investment in the UK, all-female founder teams get less than 1p, all-male founder teams get 89p. Women have shouldered most  of the household and familial duties, such as caring for children and doing housework. All this has been leading to a mental health crisis which includes high rates of stress, feeling overwhelmed and exhausted, post-traumatic stress, and loneliness. 

The key to recover and thrive needs an ‘outside the box’ perspective. The main question is not how can I overcome my challenges in business?’, it is ‘where do I want to be in (2025) and what is my route map?’. This kind of strategic thinking is the foundation of your resilience journey to recover and thrive.  

Resilience:
the process of unlocking and maximizing the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties and adversities. 

Agility:
the capacity for moving quickly, flexibly, and decisively in anticipating, initiating, and taking advantage of opportunities and avoiding any negative consequences of change.

Agility and resilience are the two sides of the coin; businesses cannot move forward quickly and recover without these strengths.  

Resilient Leadership is about What You Do – How You Do – Who You are

The good news is women entrepreneurs are more resilient than men, shown by recent Harvard Business research. However, many women either underestimate their resilience skills or they are not aware of it. Scientific studies show that female leaders compared to men outperform on certain traits (humility, self-awareness, self-control, moral sensitivity, social skills, emotional intelligence, kindness, a prosocial and moral orientation). Research by the University of Colombo also shows women are more likely to be transformational leaders whereas men tend to be more transactional (Transactional leadership:  primarily based on processes and control vs. Transformational leadership: a specific focus on inspiring others to follow). Today’s world needs more transformational leadership where women’s leadership skills are integrated.

To become a resilient and agile entrepreneur, first and foremost there is a need for a positive mindset:

changing any limiting thoughts
‘I am not enough, I don’t have the skills, entrepreneurship is a boys club, I don’t have the resources (physical, mental, financial, social)’

to

‘I am enough and I have unique skills; this is a club where both female and male entrepreneur skills are needed. Which resources do I have? Which resources should I work on?’ 

Steps to thrive as a resilient entrepreneur: 

1. Accept that the post-covid era is a journey and it will take time to recover and thrive – don’t try to fight with what you cant control. Remember successful surfers do not surf against wind.

2. Change your way of thinking by seeing this journey as an opportunity to grow rather than suffer.

3. For a successful journey, you definitely need a destination – Where do you want to be in 2025? What will be your X point of arrival in 2022 that will keep you on the track to the 2025 destination? (Purpose and belonging- Your Why)

4. Why do you want to be at that destination in 2025. (Define your values and higher purpose)

5. Map your time-bounded action plans – directions showing the way to your destinations.

6. On your journey, there will be days of thunderstorms and sunshine, up and downs. Forecast those, in particular the possible challenges and solutions. 

7. De-stress and energize yourself, then spend at least one hour/day with yourself to focus on strengths and skills to improve that will enable you to achieve your ‘Why’. Visualize how these strengths will help you? What is missing on the way and what needs to be done to acquire those?

8. Whenever you are stressed and a negative thought pops up in your mind, acknowledge it, ask yourself ‘What can I learn from it without emotionally draining?’, then turn that to positive thought. For example, ‘You are a failure. You could not succeed this today (Your negative voice)’ vs You: ‘What can I learn from this failure? I am a learner not a failure’. 

As an entrepreneur you have skills and talents, including those you are still not aware of. You need to focus on positivity to unlock and maximize all those skills not only to achieve your ‘Why’ but also enable your ‘Why’ to empower others.  

There is uncertainty ahead but with that comes potential and opportunity for growth, so be part of that potential with a positive mindset and connect with like-minded people.  

Connect with Ayse Cinar on LinkedIn

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