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Examples of the key characteristics of a resilient manager


The word ‘resilience’ has become a much more commonly used noun in our vocabulary in recent times.  As the ability to change has become an essential requirement within both the workplace and society, resilience has become a vital skill to have.  Thankfully, it is now recognised that resilience is not an inherent characteristic that we were either born with or not, but a life skill that we can all develop.

Definition of resilience

Pop ‘resilience’ into a search engine and many definitions will be listed.  Psychologists define it as the process of adapting well when faced with adversity, trauma, threats or significant sources of stress.  It is the ability to bounce back from difficult experiences and can involve significant personal growth.

NHS England provide the following definition, “Resilience has been described as the ‘ability to succeed, to live, and to develop in a positive way … despite the stress or adversity that would normally involve the real possibility of a negative outcome’. It is the ability to maintain personal wellbeing in the face of challenge.

Key characteristics of a resilient manager

  • They are realistic – a resilient manager will practice optimism that is based in reality.  Despite setbacks and obstacles, they will persist in seeking goals. Rather than fear of failure, they hope for success.
  • They say it how it is – when things are difficult, a resilient manager won’t just say they are fine.  They display emotional awareness and can name their feelings and, when necessary, control those feelings.  They will let others know how they are feeling which can create a culture of integrity and respect within their team.
  • They are empathetic – not only can a resilient manager identify and understand their own emotions, they are also aware of those of others and able to see things from another’s perspective.  They recognise people’s strengths and contributions, giving vital feedback whilst also identifying team members’ needs for growth.
  • They deal with issues effectively – a resilient manager won’t react immediately when an issue arises as they know this can increase stress, they will take a moment to think and will be aware of their reactions, always being clear about what can and can’t be changed.
  • They are not afraid to say ‘no’ – a resilient manager displays confident communication skills, they neither bottle things up nor over-react but communicate clearly in a manner which is respectful to both themselves and others.
  • They have a growth mindset – a resilient manager is willing to try new things and views the occasional failure as an opportunity to grow and a necessary part of the process to achieve ultimate success.
  • They keep a perspective – a resilient manager doesn’t turn every event into a crisis, instead they can view problems and challenges from different perspectives and keep them in proportion, taking many different factors into consideration.
  • They ask for support when needed – by working hard to create supportive networks and knowing when to ask for help, a resilient manager can reach out for support before an issue escalates.
  • They look after themselves – self-care will not be an optional extra for a resilient manager, it will be a non-negotiable as they realise that both their work and relationships will suffer if they don’t look after themselves.
  • They know their strengths and weaknesses – this awareness helps a resilient manager to use their strengths to cope with adversity and have confidence in their ability to successfully resolve issues.
  • They spread their sense of worth – a resilient manager knows they will do a better job when they are participating and gaining satisfaction from activities outside work and that their job title doesn’t solely define their self-worth.
  • They build in positive experiences – a resilient manager knows that they will never have control over some of the irritations they experience both at work and outside it. However, they appreciate that they do have the control to build positive experiences into their day which can benefit both themselves and others.


If you found this article helpful, you can read our other resilience skills articles here

We also have links to various external resources relating to resilience at work on our Resilience Resources page here

Details about our resilience training courses can be found here

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