Why Leaders Need To Be Positive Thinkers


High fliers in Britain’s Civil Service are being offered “resilience training” as part of leadership programmes to help them cope with the demands of the job in these times of austerity. This is not so surprising.

Added on 06 February 2014 by Erika Lucas

The National Health Service (NHS) and other parts of the public sector have made training in resilience a part of management programmes for some time. Indeed Ashridge Business School one of the organisations offering this sort of training made it a key part of a course it ran for NHS managers.

So what is resilience? And why is it a necessary attribute for leaders? Resilience is a term psychologists use to refer to the ability to cope with problems or setbacks. All of us experience situations – ranging from minor inconveniences to full-scale disasters – but some people are able to keep their cool in the face of them or even to use them to become stronger. Others fall apart sometimes never to recover. Some people appear to be naturally resilient to be able to cope with ups and downs of life while others take them very much to heart and become discouraged or develop unhealthy habits in order to cope. But the good news is that resilience can be learned.

For Alex Davda an Ashridge faculty member who carries out research and training in the area of resilience feels that the key to becoming more resilient is to break the “vicious cycle” in which people – particularly executives – often find themselves. “The world is quite pressured expectations are quite high” he says. “People just get really stressed out and try to do everything” he adds pointing out that working long hours in an attempt to cope is often counter-productive. “Things just roll into one. One day becomes another.”

His solution is for individuals to make a conscious change in behaviour. They should for instance start eating well or stop drinking and find new ways of working. Davda says being organised in this way can be difficult and requires “a degree of selfishness”. But the effort is worthwhile.

This post is based on an article originally featured in Forbes.com Read the full article - Why Leaders Need To Be Positive Thinkers – Forbes.

You might also like to read ‘Building Resilience for Success: A resource for Managers and Organisations’ Published by Palgrave MacMillan and written by Cary Cooper Jill Flint-Taylor and Michael Pearn.