A Leader’s Greatest Strength – Resilience in the Face of Adversity

Should imbibing virtues be a part of Leadership Training?

One isn’t necessarily born with courage, but one is born with potential. Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can’t be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest.” – Maya Angelou quotes

Ours was a private school and didn’t have the luxury of a large playground. So, we shared a playground with kids from other schools. They disliked us because they felt we were not supposed to be there.

It was one of those days when all of us were playing cricket and a few meters away were the other kids, also playing a loud form of cricket. There was tension in the air, as our team and theirs were playing side by side.

Suddenly, I hear a deafening silence. Our ball slipped into ‘their territory’ and we were not sure who would go and collect it from them. Finally, John, our class monitor, was left with the dirty job. John approached ‘the other kids’, who paused their game as their leader gestured for them to do so. Humbly, but bravely, he walked up to the leader of their group and said, “I am sorry to be interrupting your game. May I have our ball back please?” The response was as expected, a blunt ‘No’.

As a bonus, John was showered with a few adjectives in the local language. Not losing hope, John, despite our cautioning hisses, chose to insist, “Please don’t be angry. We will be careful henceforth. Please return our ball.”

One tight slap… that’s all we got to hear. John’s glasses were on the ground, covered with sand. Even before John could react, the other kids, along with their leader rushed out of the playground, taking our ball with them. John kneeled down to lift his broken glasses while we were still in absolute shock. Surprisingly, he then went looking for the other guy so he could try talking to him again, but in vain. John looked shaken but there was no fear in his face; soon he regained his calm composure…

Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.” – Ambrose Redmoon quotes

It would have been very easy for John to retaliate in kind but he chose not to. He chose to believe in himself, his ability to discuss the issue and not in retaliation or one-upmanship.

While we didn’t have the nerve to stand up for ourselves, John faced our worst fear, and probably his too, without letting any of us down.

It is in adversity that one finds the shepherd emerge from the sheep.

Isn’t it this quality of courage under pressure that we would like our leaders to possess?

You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience by which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

It is the learning from such experiences that develop the leadership traits that make you an impactful leader. Recall these life changing experiences and reflect on your learning and notice how it contributes to your performance today.

Read some of our blogs on topics that are frequently addressed in soft skills training:

  1. 3 Invaluable Soft Skills For The Workplace
  2. How Business Etiquette Really Matters
  3. TED Talks And The Art Of Public Speaking