When I was first introduced to Resilient Leadership it immediately resonated with me. Intuitively I “knew” it to be true based on my experience. I had enjoyed success in my 40-year career with Marriott International. I had held roles in nearly every discipline of hotel leadership, regional jobs and corporate headquarters. I was always curious about what had allowed me to be successful in such a wide variety of jobs.
I had observed success in others who had specific skills in marketing, strategic thinking, financial acumen, or operational savvy, and some who just plain outworked everyone else. None of those attributes applied to me! Yet my continued success has been recognized and rewarded, moving me up the ladder of success during my entire career.
One point I did come to understand was that leadership was about “being” versus “doing.”
I would often say to those I lead: “Who you are is what your department will be.” Then in learning about Resilient Leadership I was introduced to the three dimensions of a self-differentiated leader. These dimensions are to Stay Calm, Stay the Course, and Stay Connected. They are the essence of the RL model. I now realize that they are the “being” part of a leader. They demonstrate that the quality of a leader’s presence has a profound impact on the people and organization they lead. This self-differentiated presence contributes to a leader that is focused, innovative, and collaborative. These qualities lead the organization to superior success. Again, I had understood this intuitively, but RL helped me name it and recognize it as having contributed to my “being” a success. Resilient Leadership helped me gain clarity on how to describe the force multiplier in helping each of us perform at our best.
One assignment clearly illustrated this to me in hindsight.
I was assigned as an Area General Manager for a large hotel. During my turnover with the outgoing General Manager, he shared that two of his team members were really struggling. He was very anxious as he spoke about the difficulties he had in working with them. I listened carefully to him, and then observed these team member behaviors for 90 to 120 days (as was my custom when taking on any new assignment) before drawing conclusions and making any significant decisions. After the 120 days, I was pleased with how my executive team was coming together while also performing well in their individual roles, including the two I was “warned” about.
After a full year their team performance began to really shine with notable achievements.
In fact, the two leaders who I had been told were struggling each won awards for excellence within their respective disciplines! I’m confident my practiced intention to Stay Calm, Stay Connected and Stay the Course (my presence) positively influenced them, allowing their abilities in their roles to flourish. Scenarios like this happened multiple times throughout my career. I believe that living the three dimensions of Stay Calm, Stay the Course and Stay Connected have also been a key contributor to my own career success.
Staying calm, staying the course and staying connected was a key contributor to success.
RL also teaches us the difference between the Rational System and the Emotional System. The Rational System is comprised of plans, strategies, and in general, all material resources which are key to success. But without a healthy Emotional System, even robust Rational System resources, are insufficient for sustained long term success. All leaders can (and should) learn and understand the Emotional System.
The three dimensions of a self-differentiated leader reside in the Emotional System. Until I understood this it was hard for me to articulate the “what” that was behind my success as a leader. Realizing that RL also teaches us a new way of Seeing, Thinking, and Leading helped me to further leverage these hidden attributes. I began to teach those I lead how to see, think, and lead differently as well. How to lead with a calm, clear, connected presence. This process further leveraged the power of the emotional system and contributed significantly to my career over the last 5 years with Marriott.
In the end, as I like to say: “The Emotional System eats the Rational System for lunch!”
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