“Resilience is that ineffable (inexpressible) quality that allows some people to be knocked down by life and come back stronger than ever. Rather than letting failure overcome them and drain their resolve, they find a way to rise from the ashes.”

– Psychology Today

Resilience is considered one of the most prominent topics discussed in positive psychology. Author and resilience expert Glenn Schiraldi (2017) describes the characteristics of resilient people, listing strengths, traits, and coping mechanisms that are highly correlated with resilience, such as: a sense of autonomy, calmness under pressure, rational thought process, self-esteem, optimism, emotional intelligence, meaning and purpose, humor and altruism, love, and compassion. However, resilience, though highly associated with internal individual traits, should be accompanied by disciplines and strategies that allow it to have a far wider reach, especially in the business world where resilient individuals and teams can excel in their performance and recover quickly from adversities. 

Resilient teams are just as essential to organizations as resilient individuals, but while individual resilience is built independently, team resilience must be carefully cultivated by leadership. Team resilience is the ability of a group of people to respond to disruption in an adaptable, flexible and innovative manner. In the face of sudden change, resilient teams sustain their productivity while reducing the emotional toll on the team members. Practices promoting a resilient workforce can contribute to significant bottom-line impact through increased efficiency and productivity, lower absenteeism, enhanced general well-being, increased job satisfaction and decreased turnover. 

Team resilience resembles a battery that needs to be recharged regularly in order for teams to be better equipped and willing to tackle any challenge. A group of people with high individual resilience does not automatically form a resilient team, and for that reason, teams need to regularly foster the strategies and disciplines of Team Resilience. 

At ighcc, we have developed The IGTR – team resilience tool that is based on the following disciplines practices: 

  • Open and Honest Dialogue: Resilient teams are able to be transparent with each other in order to identify and resolve challenges.
  • Solution-Orientation: The R letter word that is just as significant as resilience is Resourcefulness. Resilient teams are often described as resourceful and innovative in finding effective solutions. They dedicate their energy to solutions and remain focused on the positive outcomes regardless of external factors.
  • Empathy and Support: Members of resilient teams often put themselves in each other’s shoes and genuinely care about supporting one another in achieving the end goal. Resilient teams are also willing to admit when they need help, either from someone else on the team or someone else in the organization. Rather than hiding their hardships, they lean into the group responsibility for finding solutions.

But, what to do if your team is suffering from a deficit in resilience?

Leaders must rate the state of their teams’ resilience, identify challenges and then implement methods that will help team members build foundations of trust, transparency and self-awareness.

Below is a checklist that can be used to ensure that your team is provided with the right environment to foster resilience:

  • A psychologically safe environment: that allows team members to speak up and share their thoughts and feelings without any negative consequences.
  • Bias-free assessments: Leaders of resilient teams address issues related to biases and ensure that any kind of assessment is performed in an objective manner. 
  • Innovation in collaboration: Collaboration does not always mean conducting regular face-to-face alignment meetings. Leaders of resilient teams are often innovative in utilizing inclusive methods to bridge gaps across the team and foster better collaboration. Some examples include checklists, google documents, decision boards and social media groups.
  • Accountability mindset: Resilient teams are open in expressing concerns with each other and team members are encouraged to “own” their part in any existing challenges and not resort to blaming others. This mindset of accountability breaks down barriers and allows team members to work towards a common goal.
  • Check-in on energy levels: A deficit in resilience can lead to a state of emotional exhaustion and in turn, deplete energy levels. For that reason, at the beginning of every meeting, team members are encouraged to rate  their energy levels in order to identify and tackle emotional stressors.
  • Collective responsibility: While the leader of the team is the key person in driving team resilience and setting in the best practices and disciplines, it is also crucial for team members to recognize that they have a collective responsibility towards one another. Resilience is sustained when team members lift each other up and share responsibility for each other’s energy and mental well-being.

In short, cultivating resilience is a business imperative for any organization in today’s volatile environment. Teams need resilience to maintain stability, adapt and not only bounce back, but grow mentally tougher through any crisis. 

Contact us if you would like to take the team resilience test or know more about this topic.

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