10 Practices of a Resilient Team
Even before the pandemic, the topic of resiliency was a pressing business concern in the face of market disruption, rapid transformation and technological advancements. If recent times have shown us anything, it’s just how quickly circumstances can change and how essential it is for companies to adjust to setbacks, adapt quickly and recover in the face of adversity – all markers of “resiliency.”
Speaking from my own experience, resiliency has been incredibly important to my work. As recently as two months ago, I was taking business trips to lead in-person workshops and meeting with colleagues in the office on a daily basis.
Since that time, the Learning & Development team I am part of had to adapt the way we work to accommodate remote collaboration and adjust our in-person workshop experiences to allow for an engaging virtual delivery.
While there are many factors contributing to our team’s ability to assess our circumstances, change course and be productive so quickly, a big part of our success comes from our collective resiliency. As you consider those you work with directly – or reflect on departments within your organisation – I encourage you to review these qualities of adaptable teams to identify areas of alignment and opportunities for growth.
Assess Your Team’s Resiliency Compared to These Habits
1. Resilient teams have a positive perception of themselves and their colleagues
When teams are resilient, they have confidence in themselves, their abilities and their strengths. They also recognise and appreciate the gifts of the people they work with, which is a skill that can be amplified when you use tools like the Emergenetics Profile, which reveals and celebrates individual strengths.
A positive self-image empowers team members to operate with authenticity as they let their gifts shine through, trust in the abilities of their colleagues and lean on one another to get through challenging circumstances.
2. They are self-aware
Self-understanding is essential in times of adversity as it allows individuals to recognise both their talents and blind spots. The self-knowledge makes it easier to manage emotions, self-regulate and respond to situations rather than react to them, which helps teams be better prepared to think objectively about setbacks and respond thoughtfully.
3. They engage in learning and development
Teams who are resilient typically don’t wait for challenges to just appear – they seek out opportunities to test themselves.
Engaging in learning and development programmes is one sign of a strong team because the dedication to learning new things demonstrates that teammates are willing and able to embrace new situations, practice new habits and challenge themselves to build skills. In doing so, employees not only learn to work through potentially difficult situations, they also walk away with new talents!
4. Resilient teams share a sense of purpose and values
A shared focus makes a real difference in the face of adversity. When all team members are aligned on their purpose, goals and values, it’s easier for them to maintain perspective when setbacks occur.
It also empowers teams to reframe and refocus their next steps by giving them a guidepost to keep going back to. While they may have to make significant changes to a project or abandon it completely, having shared purpose ensures that they stay aligned as they move forward.
5. They are empathetic and supportive of one another
Employees who are resilient tend to take care of their mental and physical wellbeing, and it’s much easier to do so when their team members are supportive of one another and actively encourage each other to look after themselves.
When teams are empathetic, they tend to build stronger connections, enhance productivity and boost collaboration. All of these traits make it easier to manage adversity by knowing that colleagues have their backs and are there to support them when times get hard.
6. Resilient teams foster an environment of psychological safety
When teams have a safe space where they can admit to mistakes, ask questions, voice concerns and challenge one another’s assumptions, it is much easier to adjust to changing circumstances and navigate setbacks. Rather than focus on being right, the team turns their attention to the situation at hand.
As a result, teams are often able to surface issues before they become major challenges. When adversity arises, they are better equipped to adapt because they are in the habit of taking in feedback and making course corrections every day.
7. They have autonomy
While we can’t control everything, teams are more likely to be resilient when the individuals feel some sense of control over the situation they are in and are provided with the flexibility to manage themselves and situations as best they can.
Encouraging autonomy means that managers and team members may not be involved in every decision. However, they trust one another to take control over the things that fall under their influence and have faith in one another to get the job done. If further challenges occur, team members feel confident to leverage their psychologically safe environment as they change direction.
8. They can improvise
While not all team members may enjoy improvising, resilient teams have the capacity to adjust on the fly. Drawing on experience as well as the autonomy they are given, teams are willing and able to pivot in the face of changing circumstances and move forward.
Improvisation is even easier to accomplish when you’ve mastered practice #4. Having a shared sense of purpose will help your team adapt while staying aligned with your values.
9. Resilient teams practice optimism
We all understand that work is not always sunshine and roses and that difficult situations will arise. Still, having a glass-half-full mentality does empower teams to persist in the face of adversity.
When teams who practice optimism experience challenges, they can reframe them as opportunities and see the possibilities. They also appreciate that failure is simply part of the process toward success, which equips teams to manage setbacks more effectively.
10. Resilient teams maintain a sense of humour
Maybe my favourite practice on this list is keeping a sense of humour. While not everything should be joked about, it’s a lot easier to navigate challenges when your team members are able to smile and laugh even in difficult times.
With my own team, one of the things I have appreciated most is that, while we have had to adapt quickly in the face of the pandemic and experienced some challenging days, there is not a day – maybe even a meeting – that goes by where I haven’t laughed out loud. I can safely say that humour makes adversity easier to overcome.
We’ve experienced a lot of change as individuals as well as within teams and organisations over the past several weeks. As you think about your work going forward, it can be helpful to take a few moments in your next team meeting to discuss what practices you might like to implement to work together more successfully. I invite you to use this list as a starting point for that conversation.
If you’d like a safe space to begin building resiliency, I encourage you to explore practice #3 – taking part in learning and development opportunities – by engaging your staff in one of our virtual programmes. I can promise it would be a great first step for your employees to enhance self-awareness, build a positive self-perception, cultivate appreciation and empathy among team members as well as build the foundation for trust and psychological safety.