Learning Hub


13th Sep 2023

Related Articles

The 7 Principles of Communicating for Performance
AI Regulation is Essential, But Europe’s Innovation Capacity is Potentially Being Stifled

Event Insights: Resilient Leadership – Leading with Strength and Compassion with Colette Cahalane

In a rapidly changing world, the importance of resilience in our personal and professional lives cannot be overstated. Executive Coach, Colette Cahalane, recently hosted a webinar for IMI Corporate Members, in which she shared valuable insights and practices for cultivating resilience.

We identified several key takeaways from Colette’s session.

The BANI World

In our ever-evolving world, characterised by its brittleness, anxiety, non-linearity, and incomprehensibility (BANI), traditional models like VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity) are no longer sufficient.

Leaders must embrace adaptability and humility as they navigate unpredictable circumstances and uncharted territory.

Resilience is Holistic

Resilience encompasses physical, emotional, mental, and social energy. To lead others effectively, we must first lead ourselves and focus on nurturing these four aspects of our energy.

The Types of Energy

Physical Energy: The foundation of resilience lies in physical well-being. Prioritise sleep, breathing, nutrition, recovery, and exercise to boost your physical energy.

Simple practices like centering exercises and taking micro-breaks can help you stay composed, strong, compassionate, and agile. Give yourself permission to turn off your camera during a long zoom meeting, walk and talk wherever you can, and even take time to plan your annual leave for the next few months.

You can try centering exercises during meetings, or while at our desk – simply take a moment to feel the connection of your feet on the floor, and take deep breaths as you bring awareness to your body.

Humans are not designed to be “on” all the time. We need to be engaged when we are working and fully disengaged when we are not, and taking a moment of “green exercise” (for example a five minute walk in nature) can really help you to disconnect.

Mental Energy: When we are “always on”, we might think that multitasking is the best way to get things done, but it can actually lead to reduced IQ, and increased errors.

The solution is to take back control. Leaders need to “get off the dancefloor” and onto the “balcony” – in other words, you need to remove yourself from where all of the action is happening, and give yourself the space to see things from a new perspective.

One way to regain control is by using tools like Eisenhower’s Matrix to prioritise tasks and create space for impactful activities. You can do this by setting aside time to write down your tasks, and categorise them into tasks which are urgent, important, less urgent, and less important.

Emotional Energy: One of greatest qualities of humans is how adaptable we are. But sometimes, this can be our downfall. The gateway to emotional energy lies in self-awareness. Colette began the session with an exercise in which all attendees answer a poll about how they were feeling – green, amber, or red. If we are feeling “red” (overwhelmed, triggered, under pressure), it’s important that we acknowledge it. By not admitting our feelings, we might find that those negative feelings actually come back in a more significant way later.

This relates to leadership because authentic leadership is perhaps the greatest predictor of job satisfaction, organisational commitment, and workplace happiness. When you admit to your feelings – or even your mistakes – you’ll begin to build trust with your team. A great way to acknowledge feelings is by having daily check-ins with your team. Ask how they’re feeling, and see how you can help your team members move from red, to amber, to green.

Social Energy: During the pandemic, both our personal and professional networks shrunk. A third of us now feel lonely, and it’s proven that social connections have a positive impact on our health and well-being, so it’s very important to build these social connections.

The quality of connections matters more than the quantity. Take a moment to visually map out the people who are most important in your life, and reflect on how you are aligned to a goal, and what the quality of your relationship is. This is how you can prioritise certain connections.


So how can leaders take these learnings forward? The first thing to do is choose a few of Colette’s tips, and try to implement them in your day-to-day. You should also define your success criteria, so that you can experiment and adjust your practices. Remember, confidence comes from taking action!

As we continue to navigate the challenges of an ever-changing world, the principles of resilient leadership offer a roadmap to not only survive but thrive. By focusing on physical, emotional, mental, and social energy, individuals and leaders can build the resilience needed to adapt, overcome, and succeed in the BANI world.


IMI Corporate Members have access to webinars and in-person thought leadership events throughout the year. Find out more about Corporate Membership here 

Did you enjoy reading this article?