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Keys to Building a Resilient Team

Keys to Building a Resilient Team

We all face setbacks and situations that require us to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and find new ways of facing those challenges. Organizational teams face challenges, too, and resilient teams are more likely to thrive through complex, fast-paced, and changing environments that require quick adaptability.

These environments necessitate nimble and resilient teams. This not only creates a strong collaborative and cohesive environment, but it also lends itself to more creative solutions to problems.

How can leaders build their teams’ resilience?

A crisis provides a unique opportunity for teams to test their collective strength. By helping the individuals on the team develop certain attributes before a crisis strikes, leaders and managers can lay a solid foundation for their team when the inevitable roadblock presents itself.

Laying the foundation is only the beginning. Leaders must reinforce this mindset during the crisis and after.

Put safety first.

Build your team’s confidence by nurturing a culture of safety. A critical element of a resilient team is psychological safety. Create a climate where people feel comfortable expressing concerns and new innovative ideas.

  • Encouraging your team to take risks in this safe environment with mutual trust and respect, along with a “No idea is a bad idea” attitude, will go a long way to strengthen the team’s resilience and boost their confidence. While a little healthy competition is good, an atmosphere of respect and creative collaboration is better!
  • Set clear roles for each member and how they are to work together both in normal stress times and in crisis mode. Establish clear goals and formal processes not only for achieving the goal, but also for handling adverse situations, which are bound to arise. Preparing your team before a crisis by talking through hypothetical challenges can help to mitigate problems when they do emerge.

[Related: Your Playbook for Surviving Change at Work]

Find opportunity in the challenge.

  • Good leaders lead from the front but always have their teams’ back. Make sure to remind your team that they have the resilience to get through the crisis and that you trust them to do so.
  • Employ a growth mindset by reframing the setbacks as opportunities and encouraging new ideas and strong collaboration. Make sure to provide them with everything they need to move forward with a clear direction.
  • Quickly quell negative or disrespectful comments from any members that might erode team members' confidence. And always be the buffer between your team and other stakeholders.

[Related: How to Build an Effective Team with a “Me to We” Shift]

Use the win or learn model.

  • Debrief. Team members should feel comfortable speaking up and raising any concerns, as well as celebrating their wins. As a leader, you can create an atmosphere where this is encouraged and expected. Allow for a healthy exchange of ideas around better ways of doing things in the future.

Resilient teams are more likely to stay motivated and resolve problems more effectively and quickly with little recovery time. They are important for business and require careful, deliberate cultivation by leadership. While it may not be an easy task, it is well worth the effort.

[Related: How to Lead in Times of Change]


Michele D'Amico is a certified executive coach with a PsyD in Clinical Psychology, specializing in resilience, conflict resolution, and conscious communication.

Have more questions? Follow up with the expert herself.


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