4 Scientifically Verified and Effective Strategies for Cultivating Resilience as a Business Leader

Failure is an expected and arguably necessary aspect of business leadership, but the temptation to give up in the face of failure can be tough to overcome. This natural impulse to quit can be mitigated through resilience, but not all business leaders are naturally resilient.

Tempted to throw in the towel following a significant setback? Cultivate greater resilience with one or more of these effective strategies:

Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness can have a profound impact on the brain. A 2011 study published in Psychiatry Research Neuroimaging found that those who engaged in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) experienced significant increases in gray matter density in the left hippocampus. Mindfulness is also believed to strengthen the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), which is associated with self-regulation and mental flexibility — critical elements of resiliency.


Numerous studies indicate that exercise is important not only for maintaining full physical health, but also for emotional wellbeing. In a Princeton University study highlighted by the Journal of Neuroscience report, researchers demonstrated how mice allowed to exercise on a regular basis responded with a spike of activity in the neurons responsible for regulating anxiety. This neuron-based response may explain why exercise is so frequently used to mitigate symptoms of anxiety and depression in humans.

Think Positive

Positive thinking has long been lauded as an effective method for improving relationships and professional performance. It’s also essential for bouncing back from hardship. A 2004 study published by the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that those who engaged in positive thinking were better able to regulate their emotions, and as a result, were more apt to find positive meaning in negative events.

Find a Mentor

Social connections can play a huge role in resiliency. Those surrounded by negativity quickly find themselves giving in to feelings of despair, while those with compassionate mentors can move past hardship to achieve great things. Among teenagers, those with mentors are less likely to engage in drug use or other problematic behaviors, as evidenced in a study published in the American Journal of Community Psychology. The positive impact of mentors extends beyond adolescence into the professional setting, with even established business leaders relying on mentors to remind them of their worth in times of trouble.

Find a Leadership Coach

According to Harvard Business Review: “Forty years ago, no one talked about executive coaching. Twenty years ago, coaching was mainly directed at talented but abrasive executives who were likely to be fired if something didn’t change. Today, coaching is a popular and potent solution for ensuring top performance from an organization’s most critical talent.”

Per Forbes, attributes to look for in a coach include:

  • Real skills: [Great coaches]will be able to describe very specifically how they have worked with others to improve their leadership, management, and or business operating capabilities.
  • Confidentiality: Good coaches make very clear agreements about confidentiality upfront with their coachees, and they keep those agreements
  • Actual success: Effective coaching enables clients to be better at their jobs, and to create the future they want for themselves… and then to achieve better results.”

Even the most setback-prone individual can build resilience, but it takes time, and more importantly, guidance. If you need help fine-tuning your leadership skills, call me or email me for a free consultation.


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