Build Resilience By Clarifying Values

Resiliency is a vital competency for leaders of people.

Whether you’re a Fortune 500 CEO, the manager of a call center, or a parent (the toughest leadership role I’ve ever had), resiliency is a learned skill everyone can—and must—achieve.

I don’t think every leader has to be empathic, strategic, dynamic, or collaborative.

I know lots of effective leaders who struggle with these traits (they’d be better leaders if they’d work on them, but they’re not game-changers, per se). Resiliency, however, is what metaphorically “separates the men from the boys.”

In our careers as leaders, we are faced with many character-defining moments. Colleagues who betray you. Clients who try to bleed you. Vendors and suppliers who disappoint you. My experience in life has been that the more clarity you have into your values, and the more committed you are to them, the more they build your resiliency.

I’ve written fairly extensively about deliberately determining your values, and I’m revisiting it here because I think so few leaders have clarified their values, aligned their moods and actions to them, and respond to others based on them.  

A grounding in solid values builds a reservoir of resiliency like nothing else.

One of Carly Fiorina’s values is clearly problem-solving. She wanted to become president to solve problems, not just to serve her own ego. When she was faced with the decision to withdraw from the campaign after poor finishes in both Iowa and New Hampshire, she faced the reality that this wasn’t her best path to solve the problems she was passionate about. Thus she ended her campaign immediately and looked for other outlets that allowed her to get back to solving problems.

I’m certain it wasn’t that simple, but from my time spent with her recently, I surmise she doesn’t spend too much worrying over the past. Her ability to bounce back from adversity is incontrovertible when you look at her life, both personally and professionally.

To quote my all-time favorite author and humorist, Erma Bombeck:

“Worry is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but never gets you anywhere.”

Resilient leaders focus on what’s next. What’s ahead. They’re always looking forward. They’re able to differentiate between opinions and feelings and facts. All three matter but perhaps not equally. What can you do to better build your resiliency? I’d suggest start with defining and committing to your own values. It’s remarkable how fiercely they can inoculate you against the incoming.


Leading a team requires a different skillset than working as an individual contributor. To succeed in the face of new challenges, first-level leaders need to shift how they think and act. Download our latest guide and develop your people into a high-performing team. 

About the Author

Scott Miller

Scott Miller is a 25-year associate of FranklinCovey and serves as Senior Advisor, Thought Leadership. Scott hosts the world’s largest and fastest-growing podcast/newsletter devoted to leadership development, On Leadership. Additionally, Scott is the author of the multi-week Amazon #1 New Releases, Master Mentors: 30 Transformative Insights From Our Greatest Minds, Management Mess to Leadership Success: 30 Challenges to Become the Leader You Would Follow, and the Wall Street Journal bestseller, Everyone Deserves a Great Manager: The 6 Critical Practices for Leading a Team. He lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, with his wife and three sons.

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