Resilience: In conversation with Wendy Paul

This article forms part of our kete of resources for principals on resilience and wellbeing and will be regularly updated with new clips and advice. To access the rest of our resources, head to our Resilience page. For Wendy Paul, Director of Purpose at Fonterra, resilience grew from ego death. Having handled crises for her organisation before, she learned the importance of letting go of the 'hero mentality', and how that was core to true resilience. "It's a stoic, old-school mentality, believing your role as a leader is to save everyone," she says. "But it's normal to have ups and downs - you have to be authentic to yourself and those around you in how you deal with it." In this piece, we will break down our conversations with Wendy about resilience, wellbeing and growing through adversity. With regularly updated pieces of advice, we hope you find something to help you grow your resilience - and that of your team and community. What does resilience mean to you? Under lockdown, our resilience was put to the test. But for many leaders, it can be difficult to identify exactly what that trait means.  For Wendy, it is several things. Perhaps first and foremost, it is knowing yourself:  But beyond this, it is also important to understand what resilience is not. For many, the concept of resilience means ‘sucking it up’, and swallowing difficulties without a second thought. As Wendy explains, true resilience means being far more open about your feelings – both with yourself and others.  Putting this into practice, this routine of looking after yourself, and letting others express themselves instead of trying to fix things, is a difficult task. So difficult, in fact, that Wendy herself has struggled with it under lockdown – but remains focused on building a plan to help her own resilience. But as we explore what resilience looks like in our own lives and remain honest with ourselves, we can begin to demonstrate the trait in a way that others can adopt.  Supporting teams to be resilient can be a difficult task - one that begins with yourself and managing your own feelings to be helpful for others. Wendy notes that this is all about knowledge. And when your team is having a bad day, Wendy believes it's all about perspective. As an organisation, Fonterras has maintained a big focus on resilience throughout lockdown. For Wendy, this has meant being deliberate with her time in both personal and professional contexts - where she can! And now that we are moving into Level Two, we are all taking lessons from remote working into our organisations - something Wendy has already given significant thought to. And finally, we couldn't let Wendy go without first letting us know the most important resilience lessons that she has learned.

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