Discover One Easy Way to Improve Resilience

Resilience is a much-needed trait in these complex and unpredictable times but do we properly understand what it means to be resilient and could we be asking better questions to improve resilience in others?

Have we got resilience wrong?

The types of words commonly thrown about when describing someone’s resilience include: strength, sturdiness, toughness, hardiness, strength of character, and so on.

They’re quite cold and demanding words, aren’t they?

They sort of imply that resilience is all about the ability to stoically endure what your work and life throw at you without question (or at least with a ‘stiff upper lip’).

Could this be a good thing? Yes, maybe - sometimes - we don’t want people having meltdowns every time something unexpected happens.

But can we really expect to get the best from people if their barriers are up and they’re afraid of showing their vulnerability?

Probably not.

If people feel uncertain, confused, scared, frustrated or overwhelmed but don’t have any way of expressing that, yet still feel compelled to keep going regardless, what kind of decisions and actions can we expect them to take?

Will they be brave, courageous and inventive decisions that can change the course of events for the better?

or

Will they be the same, safe, routine decisions that don’t push the envelope?

Positive thinking - man up to his neck in flood water but still smiling and giving the ok sign.

A more human approach to resilience

In these highly changeable and volatile times, we can’t afford to risk taking the same old trodden paths - we must evolve. The only way we can evolve is to be prepared to do things differently, take chances, make mistakes and grow from them without fear of repercussions.

So we need to change this cold and rigid idea of resilience and take a more human approach.

We need to understand that resilience is not just about showing strength against all odds, rather it’s about the capacity to fall, recover quickly, and adapt.

And as leaders and managers, we need to learn how to invite people to show both their strengths and vulnerabilities in order for learning and growth to happen.

A good way to do this is by learning how to ask better questions.

Why asking better questions improves resilience

The truth is that most leaders and managers still resort to telling people what to do. However well-intentioned this may be, by telling people what to do you take away the opportunity for learning to occur and reduce the possible outcomes to compliance or non-compliance.

Asking questions helps to broaden the options available to people, increases their resourcefulness and improves their confidence to contribute.

However, some questions are better than others.

Leading and closed questions rarely provide opportunities for learning and growth but questions that clarify and compare, gently challenge and explore and help bring about new insights and shift perspectives are hugely valuable.

These types of questions when used in everyday conversations, at the point of impact, can help people to build higher levels of understanding, confidence, autonomy, ownership, innovation and productivity which all help to build resilience.

Questions help... to build higher levels of understanding, confidence, autonomy, ownership, innovation and productivity which all help to build resilience (1)

How to ask better questions

In our comprehensive range of STAR® programmes including the award-winning, 100% virtual STAR® Manager programme, we teach you how to adopt an Enquiry-Led Approach (ELATM) in your everyday leadership style; we call this Operational CoachingTM.

A key feature of Operational CoachingTM is ASK. This is about how you can transform how you engage with others by asking better questions from a comprehensive taxonomy of questions that soon becomes second nature.

When you use an Enquiry-Led Approach (ELATM) the purpose of asking a better question is to facilitate awareness in the other person and for them to retain the responsibility for taking action.

The purpose of the question is not about you getting more information to support your view of the world, rather it’s about stepping into the world/shoes of the other person and helping them to become more enlightened and aware of their situation, which in turn improves their overall resilience.

Why Asking Better Questions Improves Resilience

So are you asking the sorts of questions every day that improves resilience? ...or could you benefit from learning how to incorporate better questions into your natural leadership style?

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