Building Emotional Resilience In The Workplace

Is there a more stressful job than leading a team of people? Maybe it’s leading a group of people who don’t want to align, chase the vision of your organization, or lack the motivation to finish their work.

Leadership is stressful. You’re taxed to the max. Sometimes, you feel like you’re at your breaking point. Especially with the last few years of the COVID-19 pandemic and the following labor shortage.

What’s a leader to do? You’ve got to build up your emotional resilience.

Woman sitting on a trail in the woods. Fog is surrounding her.

Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

Building Emotional Resilience In The Workplace

Emotional resilience is the ability to adapt to stressful situations or crises. That sure sounds like something we’ve had to do a lot of since 2020.

We know stressful situations and crises are going to come our way. It’s one of the things that we signed up for as leaders. We’re there to handle the challenges our employees and organization will face.

Facing these challenges is not always easy. We begin to feel beat down. We begin to feel ineffective. We start to feel like we have no value.

Can I get an amen?

While it’s not a good amen, it’s a signal that you’re not alone. I’m not alone.

The good news is that we can bounce back from the challenges and stress we face. We need to build emotional resilience, and I’m going to tell you how you can do this.

3 Tips To Build Emotional Resilience

You’re not alone in the struggles that you face as a leader. Every other leader has battled against the stress and anxiousness leading brings. Take a deep breath. It’ll be okay.

What can you do to build emotional resilience? Follow these three steps to begin building resilience. Then keep building so you can be ready for the stress and uncertainty of leadership.

1. Learn stress management techniques:

Everyone releases stress differently. Unfortunately, many of us release stress in a negative way. Maybe we blow up on someone reporting to us. Or you take it out on your spouse or children. This is not a healthy way to deal with stress.

Instead, think about these stress management techniques – 

  • Move your body – Our body was created to move. We are inactive too much throughout the day. Take 5-10 minute power walks, go for a run, or hit up the local Planet Fitness to push some of that stress out through physical activity.
  • Read scripture – Scripture is the inspired word of God. There are so many encouraging messages in the Bible. Look through it, find your favorite one, then meditate on the scripture.
  • Take a nap – When we’re stressed, our bodies react in a fight-or-flight manner. Fight back against it with a nap. The nap will reenergize you and help you tackle the stressful situation.

2. Get support :

We fall into emotional distress because we lack a social support structure that can help us bounce back when we’re down. I’m encouraging you, and so is science, that you need a solid social support network.

Think of 5 friends that you can call on in your time of need. Was that hard? It probably was. Most of us don’t have the positive social circle that we need.

Now that you know (and as GI Joe would tell you), knowing is half the battle. It’s time for you to build the social support that you need. Reach out to people in your life that you respect, understand, or want to get to know. These people could be clergy, business professionals, authors, or family members.

Get to know them better. Then ask them if they’d be willing to listen to you if you have an issue. You’ll be surprised at how many will say yes. And, if they say no, oh well. Brush it off. Move on to the next person. Rejection will help you build your emotional resilience as well!

3. Lean into discomfort:

Why do we get stressed or emotionally drained? Many times it’s because we haven’t practiced leaning into discomfort, instead we run from discomfort.

I love stepping or leaning into discomfort. It challenges me. Discomfort tests me. And I learn that I can overcome the challenge of discomfort.

Don’t miss the opportunity to lean into discomfort and get through it. You’ll learn you’re more resilient than you believed.

4. Find a purpose:

A strong purpose will help you become more emotionally resilient. You’ll still have up and down days but those days of uncertainty are easier to get through.


Because you know why you’re leading and living. There’s a purpose behind what you’re doing. Your purpose will drive you when things seem bleak.

Seek out a purpose. It will get you through the tough, challenging times in your life.

You’re An Emotionally Resilient Leader

Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. You’re practicing and working through the issues you have. You’re learning to be a better leader. You’re even learning how to be more emotionally aware.

The process isn’t perfect. You’re going to stumble and fall (it makes me think of this DC Talk song). But you now have the tools to get back up when you do. 

Being emotionally resilient isn’t about perfection. Emotionally resilient leaders understand and know that when life gets them down, they can get back up.

Be the emotionally resilient leader you and your team need you to be.

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