Posted by: Martin Fox | October 16, 2009

Each generation needs more resilience…

The following article comes from Phyllis Weiss Haserot – the intergenerational guru. Follow her blog at She knows what she is talking about – so listen up.

Peace out – Martin Fox with the Center for Global Leadership.

One Earth, One People, One Global Community – learn more about our work at

resilienceEach Generation Needs More Resilience

by Phyllis Weiss Haserot

One trait thought to be essential for successful leaders today and in the future is “resilience,” defined as tough-mindedness and the ability to accept criticism.

A study (released in mid-2006) of more than 2,000 employees at the managerial and professional levels by PsMax Solutions, a human capital assessment firm, provides some intriguing findings. Ranked highest of all groups was the middle-managers’ resilience score. CEOs and company presidents ranked lowest in resiliency, followed by executives and professional employees.

Whether the cause or the effect of resilience, in middle management roles people are subject to feedback from all directions Middle managers may be responsible for planning, directing and coordinating day-to-day activities and leading the people on the front lines. In a professional firm, middle managers include the directors of marketing, professional development, recruiting, information technology and finance and office administrators. Law firm senior associates and managers in accounting firms are in this category.

Clearly CEOs and professionals need to increase their resilience given the challenges they face with the accelerating pace of work demands and change.

Without developing the resilience trait, such problems as allowing stress and frustration to show, becoming defensive in response to criticism and difficulty in bouncing back can greatly impact individual performance and team results.

Another group sorely in need of developing resilience as defined above is Generation Y/Millennials, new to the dynamics of organizational politics and economic realities. This is especially true for those who have been hovered over by helicopter parents, teachers and mentors through school years.

Coaching can be very helpful in developing resilience. People can learn with a coach’s support to accept constructive criticism, learn from it, and temper reactions to non-constructive feedback. They can learn to be more open with their thoughts and reactions rather than holding them in and building high stress. Listening, showing that you are listening, speaking and not shutting down communications all are behaviors that can be learned and practiced. Coaching can also help managers, chiefs and directors navigate the dynamics of an organization’s internal politics.

We all can have some control over what we let get to us and cause high stress and what we overcome to be more effective managers and leaders for our own benefit as well as those around us. Resilience is a personal gift as well as a key leadership trait.


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