How to Cultivate Resilience



"Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail."
                                                 --Ralph Waldo Emerson


Resilience is the ability to bounce back stronger after set-backs or failures. This is an indispensable trait for managers in government. We inevitably experience set-backs and failures because there are so many variables about our work that we do not control. Getting anything meaningful done takes tremendous perseverance. Without the resilience needed to persevere, it would be very easy to slip into a negative cycle of powerlessness and cynicism. And that's exactly what happens to many of our colleagues. Don't let it happen to you.




The Obstacle is the Way

The Obstacle is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph

By Ryan Holiday

In The Obstacle is the Way, Ryan Holiday describes how great leaders throughout history have drawn on the philosopy of the Stoics (e.g. Marcus Aurelius, Seneca, and Epictetus) to make the best of situations that others would describe as "bad." Holiday organizes the concepts into three steps: 1) Change Your Perception; 2) Take Action; and 3) Discipline Your Will." This book is concise, readable, and incredibly useful. Read More..

Resilience at Work: How to Succeed No Matter What Life Throws at You

Resilience at Work: How to Succeed No Matter What Life Throws at You

By Salvatore R. Maddi and Deborah M. Khoshaba

The authors of Resilience at Work are both psychologists who conducted decades of research on the importance of resilience and how to develop it. They found that three key factors--commitment, control, and challenge--are critical to developing "hardiness," the foundation of resilience. Their research showed that in most organizations about one third of the employees and managers demonstrated hardiness--and those same hardy types also happened to be the most successful employees and the most effective leaders. The first few chapters are a fairly repetitive explanation of the importance of hardiness. But don't be put off; the last 6 chapters are pure gold. They are full of case studies and simple exercises that can help anyone learn the thought processes and behaviors that foster resilience. Read More...

Leadership and the Art of Struggle

Leadership and the Art of Struggle

By Steven Snyder

We all experience failures, hardships, and other setbacks during our careers. Such events are key turning points, and how we respond can determine whether we derail or grow and flourish as leaders. Steven Snyder's terrific book Leadership and the Art of Struggle describes the most common kinds of struggles and provides examples of leaders who came through the experience stronger. Includes several reflective exercises to help leaders remain grounded and make adjustments as required. Read More...

Building Resiliency

Building Resiliency: How to Thrive in Times of Change

By Mary Lynn Pulley and Michael Wakefield

Authors Pulley and Wakefield define resliliency as "the ability to recover quickly from change, hardship, or misfortune." They focus on nine areas where leaders can become more resilient by changing the way they think and act in nine areas (e.g. continuous learning, self-empowerment, sense of purpose, and reflection). Provides helpful suggestions for ways to strengthen all nine areas and also includes a Resiliency Worksheet to assess your degree of resiliency in each of the nine areas. This a short but very powerful book. Read More...