Are You a Leader? How Resilient Are You?

© 2015 Richard McKnight

© 2015 Richard McKnight

This is an occasional blog on subjects pertaining to leadership, strategy, coaching, leadership development, and everything in between. You can sign up using the form at the left/below. © 2016 McKnight-Kaney.

Leadership has many rewards but is inherently stressful. If you a leader, then it's relevant to ask how resilient you are. Below is an assessment, the McKnight Resilience Scale. 

Use the following scale to respond:

1 = Strongly disagree, 2 = Disagree, 3 = Agree with reservations, 4 = Agree, 5 = Strongly Agree

  1. I am confident that I can realize most of my dreams.
  2. I bow to things I cannot change.
  3. My life has a meaning and purpose that lies well outside my own self-interests.
  4. I bounce back quickly when things go wrong.
  5. There are a number of people in my life whom I deeply trust and am loved by.
  6. I endure emotional pain in a dignified way.
  7. I usually can find value in the negative things that happen in my life.
  8. I believe my effort determines my success, not my inherent capabilities.
  9. I do not compare myself with others (career and financial success, etc.).
  10. I easily forgive others who hurt me.


0-10: You may be in the wrong job.

11-20: You are probably losing sleep over workplace issues and probably have stress symptoms.

12-30: Ditto the above, but fewer.

31-40: Doing pretty good; hanging in there.

41-50: You could probably teach our The Resilient Leader course!

As one rises in the hierarchy, the consequences of leadership decisions escalate and the demands on one’s time intensify. Stress is not necessarily harmful, but unmanaged stress impedes the quality of decisions, one’s ability to solve problems creatively, and erodes health and well-being.

Leadership, by definition, is about creating useful change. Resilience is essential in accomplishing each of a leader's core tasks: Creating a vision, building alignment, leading strategy execution. A person who cannot skillfully manage the stress of change cannot skillfully lead.

The good news is that the skills of emotional intelligence are learnable and help enormously in mitigating and even preventing stress. Combined with mindfulness emotional intelligence skills enable one to have more energy, optimism and connect the energy of others with a hopeful vision.

The key to burnout prevention is resilience. Resilient people possess a combination of physical, emotional, spiritual, and cognitive skills that enable them to deal successfully with stressful events. Such people remain calm during change, think more clearly, make decisions better, and choose responses to challenges that reflect compassion and wisdom. 

We teach leader resilience skills in-house. Read about the course.