Does Resilience + Inclusive Leadership = Career Success?




Blog by Gilly Shapiro of Shapiro Consulting

I’ve just spent today having some incredibly thought provoking interviews with top private and public sector inclusive leaders on the role of resilience and career success. 

Every one of them put resilience as one of the top three factors to which they attribute their career success.  But not one of them remembered resilience being talked about in this way in their organisations.

The interviews form part of a wider study which is sponsored by Nationwide Building Society and Vodafone, and which I’m collaborating on with Sarah Bond from for business sake consulting.  It takes as its starting point that women and men who make it to the top of organisations are extraordinarily resilient, and seeks to shed new light on what it really means to be ‘resilient’ in business.  We want to find out more about:

  • What helps successful people develop their resilience?
  • How does the resilience of women at the top compare to, and differ from, that of men?
  • How, in practical terms, can women, men and the organisations that employ them collaborate to build resilience for the future?

It is on this last question that an important link to inclusive leadership is beginning to emerge. My research with Opportunity Now has identified the three critical competences of an inclusive leader that lead to increased productivity, innovation, loyalty and career promoting opportunities.

The competences are: Adaptability – being able to adapt your style, approach and working practices to different people and circumstances; Building a diverse pipeline – knowing the value of, seeking out and supporting diverse talent and Building inclusive relationships – creating two-way trust with people who are similar and different from you. It’s this last competence – Building inclusive relationships – two-way trust -  that came up a lot in my interviews today. 

The inclusive leaders said that they had drawn their resilience from relationships with people they could trust. People who would push their careers and challenge them but supported them in the process.  People they could safely go to for help or advice when things got really tough. They, in turn, create this trust and safety for others.

These are early findings and we’re testing them out more widely in an on-line survey.  We’d love to know what resilience means to you, how important resilience is to your career success and who or what helps you build your resilience. We’ll be sharing our findings and recommendations coming out of the research later this year. So, if you want to be part of finding out more on resilience and career success please complete our confidential 10 minute on-line survey by clicking on this link .