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Resilience is critical to the success of teams and individuals. While we usually think of resilience as a personal trait that someone has or doesn't have, resilience is also a team trait. In the context of teams, resilience can be developed and shaped by managers. By proactively helping your team build resilience, you will benefit from more engaged and productive employees and better short- and long-term results – especially in the age of COVID-19.
What resilient teams look like
Resilience is the ability and motivation to overcome adversity. The American Psychological Association defines it as "the process of adapting to adversity, trauma, tragedy, threat, or significant sources of stress".
Harvard Business Review shared a resilience study that examined thousands of teams in sports and other industries to identify the characteristics that resilient teams had in common. The study found four characteristics common to all resilient teams:
The belief that the team can do tasks effectively together. An accurate and shared understanding of roles and a shared model of teamwork. An ability to improvise a sense of confidence and a sense of security
In addition to these common characteristics, optimism, a supportive and encouraging culture, and shared values and goals are other characteristics that resilient teams have in common. Also, resilient teams generally have clear goals, strong connections, and a can-do attitude. After all, they are well aligned with the needs of internal and external stakeholders and, most importantly, get things done.
Steps to build team stability
In the course of business, all teams face setbacks and challenges. Whether it is organizational changes, demanding customers, urgent deadlines or the many unforeseen obstacles, all teams will be under stress and exposed to adverse circumstances.
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Resilient teams not only overcome obstacles, they also understand that setbacks can be beneficial. Sometimes failure provides essential feedback and strengthens a team's ability to recover, which is vital for strong teams.
This ability to grow from challenges and the other benefits of a resilient team makes it imperative for leaders to proactively develop their team's resilience. Here are some practical ways to promote resilience.
1. Be an ally
Trust and security are important components of resilient teams. A first step in building trust and security is building healthy relationships among team members. Leaders should set the tone for building strong and supportive relationships by being an ally of all team members.
Being an ally of your team members doesn't mean you can't give critical feedback or have high expectations. Instead, it means actively working to support employees through struggles, regularly providing positive feedback to offset negative feedback, and building meaningful self-esteem in all employees.
Related Topics: 10 Successful Leaders Share How They Developed The Resilience To Cope With The Most Difficult Times
Being an ally not only helps build trust among team members, it also models the encouraging and supportive atmosphere that all team members are designed to create.
2. Be purpose-driven
Employees are more engaged when they connect with what they do and see the impact of their efforts. You want your team to have clear goals and work together to achieve the team goals. You can achieve this by being a purposeful leader.
Being a purposeful leader means regularly reminding your team of why they're doing what they're doing and finding ways to connect it to its purpose. Be creative when it comes to keeping yourself and your team focused by posting signs in all work areas, visiting clients, or regularly traveling to construction sites. Just make sure that your bigger purpose is always at the center of your activities.
3. Set clear goals and benchmarks for your team
One key to your resilience is knowing what you are working towards. Teams with clear goals are better able to overcome adversity and work towards these goals. Your team should clearly understand the long-term and short-term goals. Avoid the mistake of assuming everyone knows the goals by taking the time to explicitly share goals and making sure that all team members understand and align with them.
4. Build a culture of mutual trust
Teams in which employees feel safe and trust each other are more resilient. While natural team dynamics can build some level of trust, you shouldn't assume that a culture of trust will naturally develop on its own. Instead, take action to create a culture of respect, inclusivity, and trust.
Related Topics: Building Resilience: The Right Way to Overcome Adversity
Some ways to build trust include highlighting the different roles of each team member, identifying the contributions each team member is making, allowing periods of group reflection to identify successes and failures, and promoting honest communication. Teams that value each member's unique gifts, celebrate victories, and speak honestly but respectfully about things that went wrong are well on their way to building a culture of mutual trust.
Resilient teams achieve better results and can overcome the inevitable ups and downs that all teams experience. Regardless of your definition of success, a resilient and authentic team will help you. While some people are more resilient than others, leaders can shape and develop the resilience of teams. Don't wait for the next setback or challenge to improve your team's resilience. Instead, be proactive in making your team stronger and more resilient.
Related: 8 Ways Successful People Have Mastered Resilience