Resilience is the most important leadership skill – Kelvin Balogun

In this interview, Kelvin Balogun, Senior Partner, Ventures, at Verraki, and a former President of Coca-Cola in South and East Africa, speaks to BusinessDay’s Frank Eleanya on resilient leadership, how people can build resilience for themselves and what employers need to do to improve resilience in their people.

What does it mean to be a resilient leader?

According to the dictionary, resilience is the ability to return something to its original form after being stretched or compressed. In the context of a person, it is the capacity to recover quickly from adversity, difficulties, or depression. In the context of businesses, it is the capability to deal with business cycles, the upside-down dynamism of operating in a VUCA world: an operating environment that is volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous. And these words, acting in concert, describe the global environment and of the country in the last few months. When we started this year, no one, without being clairvoyant, could have predicted that the world that we welcomed a few months ago would shut down businesses, forcing many organizations globally to rethink the foundation of their business models.

Resilience is a quality of high-performing leaders because it describes how leaders deal with the curveballs that inevitably come towards organizations as they are being led strategically from where they are to a defined destination. Leaders must cultivate in themselves and others, what it takes to advance, adjust, and thrive, even within the operating context changing.


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