We have all spoken about the 'resilience' of people during what has been an extraordinary 18 months. How will this be tested as the UK opens up and we enter a phase of the 'new normal'? What can we learn from others?

By Lisa Farmer
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Resilience: The definition according to Google is 'the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.' Most of us having gone through the last 18 months have a better insight in to what it means to be 'resilient' giving the impact of COVID on our family, friends, colleagues and work. It has been synonymous with how we must all be 'tough' to get through what has been a very challenging period.

But those who are resilient really do pull through and are stronger and tougher as a result. I am coming to the end of my mentoring sessions through the Aleto Foundation and it has had such a profound impact on me. My mentee truly is an inspiration and I know will go on to make a significant impact on the world and the companies fortunate enough to employ her and to know her; they will be brighter, shinier and more resilient as a result. She knows what she wants, she understands what she is capable of and knows that through focus and hard work she can achieve whatever she decides to. That is the sign of a true leader.

As a Managing Partner at Boyden I spend a lot of time with senior leaders both in executive roles and interim management professionals and those who have shown how resilient they are. They are the ones who have dug deep and know that even in the uncertain times we all went through last year, that focus, mental strength and belief in yourself will pay dividends in the end. Interims have to maintain their resilience when they have finished roles and are looking for the next; knowing and trusting the process and that the power of the network and providers will furnish them with an exciting new challenge.

We are tinkering on the brink of the world starting to open as we emerge from the pandemic and for us all to have a taste of normality in the UK. This too will call for more strength and courage as we revisit old lives and carve out our 'new normal'.

Before the pandemic we talked about wellbeing, and as business leaders this was an important consideration, but never more so than now. It is imperative that senior leaders really and truly think about wellbeing. Ignoring this will be at their peril. Many businesses will be working very differently than they were 18 months ago; some have thrived and embraced, and others will want to revert back to old habits as they tend to die hard.

A positive consequence of the pandemic is the opportunity for many businesses and business leaders to raise awareness on mental health. It is a chance to start the dialogue and to ensure that there are real and significant programmes to support their team as we all transition into this next phase.

We all need to dig deep and find our own ways of being resilient, but the best leaders understand that by opening up and having shared communication around tough subjects, they, as leaders and the team will be much stronger as a result. Has your resilience or attitude changed post pandemic? What steps have you taken to ensure you are investing in your own mental wellness?

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