Three Ways Great Leaders Handle Adversity

adversityWhen things are at their worst and it seems there isn’t a clear end in sight, the way you handle that challenge can reflect the strength of your leadership — or show its weaknesses.

In a recent Forbes post, serial entrepreneur and contributor Mike Maddock shares three techniques used by his own mentors when they are faced with a problem or circumstance that seems impossible to resolve. 

What Will This Teach Me?

When you’re faced with a particularly brutal personal or professional challenge, use it as an opportunity for growth and learning. Ask yourself — and answer honestly — “What caused this circumstance to happen?” and “How did I get here.”

Great leaders generously share their learning and experience with others, committing to “make the most of the opportunity for themselves and others.”

“The people who have learned to look at challenges as valuable teaching moments are the wisest and strongest leaders I know,” says Maddock.

Reinvent Your Future — Constantly

Quoting academic and activist David Suzuki — “we must reinvent a future free of blinders so that we can choose real options” — Maddock notes that the most resilient leaders constantly remind themselves there’s alway a choice, even in the face of seemingly impossible circumstances.

When you’re next faced with a major challenge, he suggests beginning with four questions to put it all into perspective:

  • What is the most desired outcome?
  • What other outcomes would be acceptable?
  • What stands in the way of achieving those outcomes?
  • Who do I know who has overcome similar obstacles?

The lesson here is that choice is always available, even if it’s sometimes hard to find.

Be Humorously Curious

Having a sense of humor when challenges arise allow you to think more broadly and creatively.

Work hard to not take yourself or the situations too seriously, says Maddock. While you’re building your business to grow and evolve for the long-term, remember to laugh when seeking out answers and solutions.

In those moments of levity, you might just discover a new way of thinking, or a path that will lead to the answers you’ve been seeking.

How do you approach adversity?