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Gemma Leigh Roberts

The Resilience Edge

Organisational Psychologist and Founder of The Resilience Edge

Read more from Gemma Leigh Roberts

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How to build a resilient team in 2021

If there’s one skill this year calls for more than any other, it’s resilience.

With Covid-19 lockdown restrictions set to last for the foreseeable future, building resilience within the workplace should be at the top of any business leader's agenda in order to thrive in these uncertain times. The workplace has changed in ways we could never have imagined, and at a speed we could never have anticipated. Navigating the new world of work has been incredibly challenging for managers with the pressures to lead a team to be more adaptable, motivated, avoid burnout and stay focused on reaching goals, all from a virtual setting. Successful business leaders must adopt resilience in order to push their teams forward in 2021.

There is no doubt that resilience is a critical skill for all of us in 2021, whether that’s in day-to-day situations, or in the workplace. 

As well as this, leaders and managers are responsible for fostering psychological safety within their teams and ensuring that psychological health is protected for each team member, not only to boost team wellbeing, but also to enhance team performance. For some leaders, this may be the first time they’ve had to focus on supporting wellbeing across their whole team, all at the same time.

Today, the attribute teams collectively need is resilience to deal with adversity and thrive in the future – but how do you create a resilient team?

Role model resilience

First and foremost, focus on your resilience as a leader. Reflect on how you feel and how you’re dealing with challenges – do you feel that you can find the answers when problems arise? Are you showing your team how you’re adapting your thinking and behaviour as you encounter new situations?

Your team are watching you, and if you’re talking about your resilience, being honest about the challenges you face and the emotional responses you’ve experienced, your team will feel empowered to be honest and open about their resilience journey.

Have a support system

One of the most critical elements of building resilience is having a strong support system around you. Building a support system in the workplace provides an opportunity to build a trusting relationship with your employees, whilst also helping to boost team resilience and morale in the workplace.

Employees that feel valued and supported by their employer are more likely to be productive, loyal and resilient. Strong communication in the virtual workplace ensures that people feel listened to and informed about the direction of the company, as well as plans for tackling challenging situations. One way to do this is to set up a monthly team Zoom or virtual drinks to check in with your team – this also gives employees a chance to socialise and have some fun.

Focus on adaptability

Since we’ve been living and working through a pandemic, we’ve all had to practice adaptability, which is also one of the key elements of building resilience. Helping team members to develop their problem-solving skills and focus on using a growth mindset can help individuals to view problems as puzzles that can be worked out. They will learn to appreciate that this takes time and that different approaches may need to be tested to determine what works.

Nurture optimism as best you can

Research shows that some of us are naturally more optimistic than others, but we all have the ability to enhance our optimism. Some of the challenges team members have faced over the last year have been extreme, and it may not be healthy to remain positive in all circumstances, so it’s important to be mindful of situations individuals within teams are experiencing. This ties in with building a workplace support bubble.

There is, however, the opportunity to promote optimism in general, whereby individuals are encouraged to focus on what is in their control (rather than what isn’t) and take ownership of choosing how to respond to events to create the most positive outcome.

Build trust with your team

In the past, being a vulnerable leader may have been frowned upon in some industries. Today, it’s an accepted truth that all leaders are facing new challenges that they may not have been experienced before. Although at times this may be uncomfortable for leaders, this is a unique opportunity to be honest and open about the challenges faced and how you feel about these challenges, which will help to build strong and genuine relationships with team members in the long run.

There is no doubt that resilience is a critical skill for all of us in 2021, whether that’s in day-to-day situations, or in the workplace. Focusing on helping teams to enhance resilience will boost individual, team and organisational wellbeing and performance, both today and in the future.

Interested in this topic? Read Team cohesion: building resilient teams that survive conflict.

Author Profile Picture
Gemma Leigh Roberts

Organisational Psychologist and Founder of The Resilience Edge

Read more from Gemma Leigh Roberts

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