How to build team resilience?

What are four characteristics that resilient teams have? 

Team resilience is a necessary trait to thrive in a business. During a crisis, resilient teams are more likely to react faster, adapt better and therefore succeed. It takes time and endeavours to build resilience in a team and more and more companies provide resources to teach it.
Here we describe some characteristics and key factors to strengthen your team and to build team resilience.  

Four characteristics resilient teams have:  

1. Safe team and workspace environment  

A safe environment means teams members can speak freely about burnouts and stress, sharing concerns and ideas with no risk assumption of being seen as incompetent, negative, or disruptive. This is vital to work efficiently on tasks and assess progress. 

Social bonds are essential when challenging times, setbacks or high demands take place. Team managers must allow and reinforce social bonds. Did you know that expressing gratitude and appreciation to each team member changes their brains*? When team managers practise this, it will significantly help team members feel more thankful and focus more on the positive things rather than negative. 

2. Common vision of teamwork

Resilient teams believe they can collectively complete tasks and achieve goals together. To do that, they establish specific goals along the journey based on outcomes and results. This way the team is aligned and moving in the same direction. Strong teams keep track of their progress, avoiding confusion and waste effort along the way.

Yet, to have a common vision does not signify to agree on everything. Resilient teams do not discuss commonly agreed ideas. Instead, they fuel with innovative ideas and opinions. When views collide, they focus on getting it right, rather than being right.  

3. Failure is part of success  

Failure is one of the most challenging aspects any team faces. Resilient teams learn to embrace it with a growth mindset. How? Discussing what went wrong, seeing value on failure and an opportunity to grow as a team.

It is important to not assign blame when results do not align with the goals they had set. Failure is a collective result that must be analysed as a team.  

4. Team Managers are pragmatic, yet positive!  

If a team manager shows pessimism about the future, the team takes cues from its manager and will respond in the same way. A team manager must always set the example for the team. A resilient team manager displays enthusiasm in the project no matter the circumstances.

Since they are more effective under pressure, they can create opportunities for growth and confront the struggles that may appear keeping the team’s morale lifted. 

Now you know the characteristics of a resilient team, but what are key team resilience practices you can do? 

Focus on building a safe environment and setting up clear roles and goals that are aligned with your business strategy are the two main keys to build resilience in your team.  

Key 1: People are your most important asset

Research** shows that the most effective way to build resilience at work is with individual personalised coaching, or “guided conversations”. Show empathy when they are having rough days, teach them not to dwell on what went wrong and explain how to turn failures into learnings.  

Follow the “three P’s” exercise by the Pepperdine University for a positive and supportive team culture:
Play, Purpose and Potential. 

  • Play: set activities to de-stress your team and boost creativity. 
  • Purpose: Remind each member of the team their importance in the company to boost their confidence and drive.  
  • Potential: Focus on immediate goals for each member of the team.

Key 2: There is no success without a strategy

 Only 10% of individuals have a full understanding of their company’s business strategies. How are you going to succeed if your team members do not know the company’s strategy?  

Define clear roles and specific and challenging goals for each team member and as a group. Let your team members develop their own goals too, this way they reinforce their commitment to the team. Be available to help them to achieve their goals and remind them that these goals must always support the greater team goals.  

But goals without deadlines is like driving without a destination. You need your team to focus on every step to follow to achieve them. Set deadlines to yourself and the team to develop responsibility and avoid disengagement. Once all this is set, you can start defining clear strategies for success.

Use the ‘MoSCoW Prioritisation’ if you are not sure how to prioritise the team’s tasks. It helps you decide what to do next:

It is a fact that markets are more global and transparent, and technologies are replacing traditional work team dynamics and strategies. Resilient teams will perform better and faster in these environments, stay more focused on their goals and remain motivated. Start implementing these characteristics and key elements in your team, it will not be an easy task, but it will pay off. 

* On more how expression of appreciation to team members changes their behaviour read here ** Read research that shows that the most effective way to build resilience at work is with individual personalised coaching here 

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