How resilience works for your team in difficult situations?

September 17, 2020

Why do some teams do better or are able to react faster to unexpected situations? We are constantly facing changes and challenging moments both at work and home. These situations, such as COVID-19, are sometimes extremely difficult or challenging. Already in the early autumn of 2020, it is obvious that some teams coped with the situation better and reacted faster than others. These teams were able to focus their energy on the future and find new solutions. Team resilience is the key reason for better team performance and coping mechanisms.

What is resilience?

Resilience is a multifaceted concept and has several definitions. What does resilience mean in the workplace? Resilience tells about your and your team’s capabilities to adapt and bounce-back from difficult and unexpected situations. Resilience is also about your team’s ability to innovate and be flexible during these uncertain times.

Resilience is influenced by both individual and team-related factors. A key prerequisite for managing and developing resilience is self-leadership. Resilience changes over time, i.e. it is a dynamic skill. Resilience can also be developed and practiced, as any other skill.

We all have inner resources and personality traits like optimism. We also have external factors affecting resilience, such as close social relationships and a sense of belonging. Both internal and external factors contribute to resilience.

A resilient team member could be characterized as a person with strong and healthy self-esteem, self-efficacy, good problem-solving skills, positive interpersonal relationships, growth mindset, and a positive sense of humor even in difficult times. In addition, they often have good conversational and listening skills.

What are the characteristics of a resilient team?

A resilient team is able to tolerate, prepare for, and adapt to challenging and unexpected situations or changes in general. Resilience is the ability to recover, either on your own or with the help of others, from these surprising setbacks or challenges. Resilience is partly innate, but it is important to remember that you can develop your resilience.

Resilient teams are also good at adapting. Adapting to new unexpected situations, uncertainties, or crises requires learning mechanisms to be activated. Stimuli that activate the action of stress hormones and guide team members to take step-by-step action. This will help them to cope with the situation and also affects thinking and the way we react. Our reaction can be learned, intuitive, or something in between.

What makes a team resilient?

Factors related to the team and the workplace include e.g.positive and supportive social relationships. Resilient teams are characterized by an atmosphere of trust and psychological safety, which is also the common nominator for successful teams according to many studies. Resilience is also supported and mediated by team inclusion. Team members must dare to be themselves and have a sense of belonging. 

A positive growth mindset makes it easier for the individual to adapt to the situation and supports the team as they face unexpected situations. Situational awareness and facing the facts honestly enables you to learn from these challenging and difficult situations. It is important to understand how resilience can be developed at the workplace and by yourself.

Why is resilience important to your team?

Resilience refers to how you respond to a difficult or challenging situation as a team. As situations change, so does an individual's resilience and the means to develop resilience. Resilient team members have a better-than-average ability to react and adapt to different situations. They also worry less and recover from unexpected situations faster.

Resilient teams observe the world, trends, their surroundings and stakeholders. They are able to shape their environment and do things differently than ever before. They are also quick to learn from their mistakes and the new situations.

Resilience has an impact on the well-being of your team members, which can be monitored e.g. by measuring employee work engagement. Resilience is known to have a positive impact on mental well-being at work. Resilience also helps develop your team’s efficiency and performance under pressure. Who wouldn’t want to be more creative, healthier, and more efficient?

How to measure and develop resilience? 

How can team resilience be developed or practiced? I can give you a few examples. For more ideas, I recommend you take our quick team resilience test on the Emooter website to assess your resilience and receive suggestions to improve your resilience. You can give feedback to each other and consider how you could also show gratitude in your team. Do this on a weekly or daily basis and integrate a feedback loop to your team routines. This is known to have a significant positive impact on mental well-being according to almost all well-being studies.

Resilience involves the ability to assess the situation as well as to react and quickly decide on actions to cope with the surprising and difficult situation. Situational awareness and team reaction can be practiced. You can do this by imagining or creating real training situations for unexpected situations that a team or company may encounter. This can be a cyber-attack or an unusually severe complaint or other crisis. What could be a surprising and challenging situation or crisis for your organization?

You can take the assessment by yourself on behalf of the team or do it together during your team meeting. We prefer the latter. The assessment consists of three areas we cover in the assessment report: 1) Collaborative learning, 2) Creativity and problem-solving and 3) Positive growth mindset

Answering just six scientifically validated questions you will receive your team report including an overview of team resilience, short feedback and suggestions to improve your team resilience. Take this quick assessment to find out how resilient your team can be when facing difficulties or challenges. You will get a personalized PDF report of your assessment along with some recommendations for improving resilience via email.

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