Emotional resilience (ER) is important in any context of leadership. A correlation of ER is emotional self-reliance (ESR). From a scientific-framework, ESR is described as “the suitable effect of progress and growth that allows an individual to accomplish and achieve personal relationships, obtain life-fulfillments, and commonly experience excellent well-being, both physically and mentally. Simply put, it builds capability to control feelings that decrease negative thoughts leading to a more positive life. When wholesome emotional development is evident, the capacity to feel freer in encountering and experiencing healthier emotions are palpable. In this state of mind, people are better able to decrease extreme stress. In the same vein, this process, allows individuals to acknowledge that with a positive mindset, personal choices are driving forces, which most effectively depict the intensity of everyday results.”
Given the unrest in the United States (US) already shown in this month of January 2021, what begs some semblance of reflection is, how do leaders adopt continuous emotional health to best lead those on their teams? After all, leaders are not immune to such events. Although, some leaders may believe that such unrest is needed for change, it has been studied that belief and adherence to this type of thought, is not common in these modern-day times. In fact, it has been assessed that those who lead by fear and utter corruption, should not be in leadership roles at all. For those who adhere to leadership styles considered appropriate, it is important to continue the path of re-building and building ER and ESR, daily.
Effective Christian leaders are harmonious with the Bible’s teachings as the ultimate source for bouncing forward. Yet, it is widely known that in times of trouble, emotions are broad and often confusing. Some common aspects of emotions after community tragedy are, severe or unpredictable feelings, unusual changes to common thoughts and everyday behavior, sensitivity to common environments, tense interpersonal relationships, and uncommon physical symptoms. To make these results even more difficult, is the suggestion that these widespread aftermaths of tragedy can be felt all at once, in pockets or independently. When this happens, a life for God can seem momentarily far-fetched. It is not until centering occurs that movement back to Our Father, returns.
Many areas of the Bible are steppingstones to this homecoming. Some practical verses as guides are:
- Job 1:21-22 “I left my mother’s womb naked, and I will return to God naked. The LORD has given, and the LORD has taken. May the name of the LORD be blessed.”
- Habakkuk 3:17-18 “Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!”
- Philippians 4:13 “I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me.”
There are several more of these wonderful reminders too. Yet, to be consistent in what the Bible teaches about ER and ESR, from human perspectives, it is vital to practice processes encouraged by the Bible itself. All authors of the Bible who wrote on trust in God after trials, showed:
- Self-empathy-it is okay to feel hurt even though God is life’s protector. In fact, in the Bible, God Himself displays so many emotions. If humankind is made in the likeness of God, showing some sentiments are ways to honor Him. Meeting with team members to share their feelings offer transparency and likewise, build trust.
- Thankfulness-stop and give thanks to God, then deliver gratitude to your team. Be thankful for safety, the opportunity to teach God’s words, family and friends, team members, a roof to protect from the natural elements, food for nourishment, and of course, clothing. Recent research studies showed that having gratitude coupled with resilience, helps to build more accessible coping skills. Instead of avoiding interactions or conversations, gratitude provides safer spaces to fulfill these needs.
- Optimism-Optimism breathes hope. Again, this comes back to choices, discussed above. In times of trouble, hope needs consistent cultivation. The brain as soil, thoughts as seed, and water as outcomes. You get to choose what form of joy you seek. Joy grounded in Biblical principles and not those society claims are needed.
- Reflective thought-Journaling on self-empathy, thankfulness, and hope, as daily practice provides visual accomplishments as elements of progress. These elements are often triumphant! Who knows, journaling may even begin your process of authorship. The Bible itself, is made up of mostly journals!
Life today, is unique. Yet, with God’s help, guidance, and intuitive thought, placed in every one of His children, it is possible to move through the noise, hurt, disrespect, and injustices, currently displayed societally. It is indeed feasible to lead even better than what was expected before, even at the aftermath of difficult times.
Source of research:
Wood, A.M., Joseph, S., & Maltby, J. (2009). Gratitude predicts psychological well-being above the Big Five facets, personality and individual differences. Personality and Individual Differences, (46)4. doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2008.11.01