You can create a strong sense of efficacy by purposefully teaching resiliency. As a leader, it is about teaching others how they can bounce back from failures. Everyone needs to learn that they have what it takes to be successful in making it through difficulties. You can teach resiliency by promoting and pointing out positive behaviors and attitudes. It is also about helping those you lead to identify when they are using negative self-talk. The following case illustrates a leader teaching and promoting resilience with her employee.
Theresa, a senior sales manager, knows that a new hire, Jane, is new to working with a Hispanic population. What Jane knows about the population is based on media sources, research and papers she’s read, and what she’s picked up over time from her social network. Jane has a lot of work ahead of her if she wants to understand and work well with this consumer base.
Theresa provides constructive feedback to Jane in a variety of ways that encourages her to keep her motivation and interest high. She compliments Jane on things she does well and often says, “You’re making great progress.” Although there are times when Jane just doesn’t seem to “get it” as fast as she should, Theresa believes that eventually with training and the proper resources, Jane will succeed.
Recently, Jane came back to the office with a big smile on her face. She was able to negotiate and secure a contract with a business in the Hispanic community. Theresa immediately congratulates her. “That’s fantastic. Way to go! Tell me all about it.”
As Jane recalls the experience, Theresa follows up with questions and prompts to convey her support and enthusiasm. When Jane recalls a minor setback in her conversation with the business, Theresa says, “Wait now. Don’t underestimate what you were able to do. That’s a minor issue and I know that if you secured the contract you must have adequately addressed that with the client.”
Jane hesitates, and then nods her head. “You’re right. I did. He seemed real relaxed after I explained it to him.”
Theresa notices the hesitation. To ensure that Jane realizes her good effort paid off, Theresa says, “Good work! Now that you’ve had this experience, what lessons learned can you take to your next sales opportunity?”
Theresa provides teaching moments of resiliency to Jane. As a culturally intelligent leader should, she is helping Jane learn the value of not giving up in the face of difficulty. She also points out the negative self- talk (verbal and nonverbal) that Jane slips into the conversation. Theresa ends the conversation on a positive note, continuing to show interest and support of Jane’s progress.
As Theresa is teaching Jane, she also learns about her own resiliency. Working with Jane is a new cultural experience for her: She is working with someone who is unfamiliar with certain aspects of her job and the consumers. As a person with many responsibilities, and one holding a position of leadership and authority in the organization, Theresa does not have a lot of time to manage Jane. Yet Theresa makes it a goal of
hers to encourage and mentor Jane through the initial growing phase. Theresa’s resilience, her perseverance, and her perception of her own abilities in relation to the situation help her keep her motivation and interest high.