The COVID-19 global pandemic has impacted organizations in many different ways. For well over a year and a half, most of us were socially isolated. We had to shelter in place and keep our distance from others. Many of us had minimal, face-to-face contact with people. We lived on conference calls and meetings conducted by video. Making connections with others and developing close working relationships became a lost art.
Employees struggled with staying motivated and the on-going demands of work/life balance. Employers had to find ways to engage and inspire their people. Successful leaders practiced certain behaviors to keep their people focused on critical outcomes for their business. They led with endurance. Endurance is about maintaining resilience, stamina and tenacity to achieve organizational goals and objectives. These behaviors enable leaders to remain persistent under adversity and setbacks. It helps them to push people past challenges and manage pressure and stress.
There are four keys to endurance. Practicing these behaviors helps leaders navigate through a crisis and uncharted territories.
1. Strengthen your resolve with resilience
Endurance is about resilience. It is the ability to roll with the punches. When stress, adversity or challenges surface, you must push through them and keep striving for your desired outcomes. When you have resilience, you harness inner strength that helps you rebound from setbacks. Although resilience won’t make your problems go away, it will give you the ability to see past them. This will help you reach your goals. The best way to strengthen your resolve is through experience. Some of the most successful leaders have the unique ability to learn from experiences, both positive and negative. When looking back through your own experiences, what obstacles and challenges have you overcome? Were you part of a turnaround in the business? Did you have to work through a poor performing sales cycle? Did you have to work with a problem employee or colleague? Take inventory, but also identify the lessons learned from those experiences.
2. Look for inspiration
Inspiration is all around us. Every day, we see people who deal with situations far more difficult than our own. They persevere through the challenges. Always be on the lookout for people or experiences that provide hope. Look for things that spark your energy and enthusiasm. This opens the door for inspiration and connects you to things outside your typical sphere of influence. Many of our clients sit on nonprofit boards, and many of the organizations they oversee have tremendously strong social responsibility causes. They get to play a role in social issues, environmental ones and other kinds of endeavors to better their communities. So, what are you most passionate about outside of your work? Do you volunteer or serve at your place of worship? Are you committed to pursuing social and/or political issues? Do you enjoy helping those in need? Do you love to work with children? Find out where your passions are, and you will find ways to help and serve others.
3. Push through obstacles
When pursuing your dreams, challenges will inevitably surface. Push through these barriers. If you can’t do it alone, get help. Find people who have faced similar obstacles and seek their guidance and counsel. We have seen this with many of our clients over the course of the pandemic. Leaders have partnered with mentors and coaches to find ways to balance work/life issues. They have created forums and team-based environments where employees can share their challenges and concerns. Leaders have taken time to have check-ins and one-on-one meetings with their direct reports to support them during times of need. Companies have created programs to support people with their mental health and emotional well-being. If you’re struggling personally, find the support you need from others. If you’re in a position of influence, offer support to the people who need it.
4. Always keep your eye on the prize
Having an overarching goal or objective is always critical to strengthening your resolve and endurance. Great leaders have a vision for their future. You must start out with an idea of what you want your desired end state to be. Goals push you forward. They help you get through the difficult times. Always keep your main objectives front and center in you thinking. They will give you a sense of mission and purpose. It will build courage and commitment to your desired outcomes. It will help you overcome obstacles and challenges along the way. It will enable you to put in the necessary work needed to be successful in anything you do.
Adam C. Bandelli, Ph.D. is the managing director of Bandelli & Associates, a boutique consulting firm focusing on leadership advisory services and organizational effectiveness. He is the author of the book, “What Every Leader Needs: The Ten Universal and Indisputable Competencies of Leadership Effectiveness.” You can learn more about the book at whateveryleaderneeds.com. For more information other leadership topics, visit the firm’s website at bandelliandassociates.com.