We know that being resilient and having a resilient team is essential. But what does this mean? Resilience is the ability to remain even keel and bounce back after being pushed beyond your limits.
COVID-19 has put us all to the test. How resilient can we be before we break? The novel virus has shown that we must strengthen ourselves and our teams for unexpected crises and the unknown. COVID-19 has forced all of us to deal with continual change, pressure, and stress.
If you want to build team and organizational resilience, you need to focus on and strengthen two types of resilience:
Resilience is the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, relationship issues, health problems, or work-related and financial stressors. Personal resilience involves “bouncing back” from these difficult experiences that can often lead to profound growth.
Building personal resilience involves self-awareness of our behaviors, thoughts, and actions that promote or detract from our wellbeing and mental health. As a result of self-awareness, we can develop effective coping strategies.
I like to think of teamwork as a basketball team where every player is essential to winning. While individual performance is undoubtedly important: winning depends on how well the players communicate, execute the strategy, pass the ball, and support each other.
When teams face complex challenges, like COVID-19, teams need to support one another to get through the crisis. Resilient teams are the only way to recover quickly from unexpected events.
According to a major study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, building team resilience requires “Focusing on collective as well as individual behaviors.”
The research shows that team resilience has several benefits: improved optimism, self-efficacy, and increased job satisfaction.
With 32-years of experience working as an executive coach and cultural change consultant, I’ve learned that team resilience involves four key components:
Let’s break these down into four tips to build resilient teams:
Purpose is a clear picture of why we do what we do. In some ways, purpose is the essence that inspires us to show up every day. When you combine the force of passion and purpose, individuals are driven to survive, thrive, and excel as a cohesive team.
In a team session: have an open discussion on your team’s purpose and how you can support each other.
Second: Trust and direct honesty
Trust is at the core of team resilience. Trust allows teams to be open with each other, be directly honest about their emotions, and freely express without fear or judgment from others.
When teams have trust and direct honesty, they tend to rally around each other, support one another, and become resistant to adversity.
In a group setting, have people anonymously share contentious issues facing the team. Put the problems in a box, pull the issues out 1 by 1, talk through them, and do a SWOT analysis.
In a world of uncertainty, it is essential to be agile. We must be willing to adapt, be flexible, think outside the box, and be creative in our approach to problem-solving.
Based on our data at Linceis Conscious Business, some of the critical factors impeding agility are:
Being open-minded, taking risks, exploring, and implementing outside-the-box ideas takes guts and courage.
With your team, with your next issue, have the team come up with 20 outside-the-box ideas.
Fourth: Compassion, Empathy, and Respect
When we lead compassionately with empathy and respect, teamwork improves because people feel cared for and valued. Compassion and empathy involve understanding what someone else is saying without judging that situation as good or bad.
Respect means honoring our differences.
During a team session, have everyone express one piece of gratitude for the support they received from other team members.
Recently, we conducted a cultural mini-assessment for a client. The results showed stress levels had skyrocketed. Because most of their staff were considered essential workers, they put in long hours and with continual exposure to COVID-19.
They felt tired, stressed, angry, sad, and overwhelmed.
Everyone, from the senior leaders to the front-line staff, felt under-appreciated and overworked. Employee satisfaction suffered.
As we analyzed the results, we noticed a drop in caring, kindness, and respect.
The leaders realized they focused so much on saving lives, they forgot to say, “thank you”, and “I appreciate all you are doing.” Saving lives is extremely important, and the little things like appreciation help with stress and overwhelm.
The simple act of kindness, caring, and respect can go a long way to build individual and team resilience.