Building resilient teams – where do we start? Part 1 of 3

“Resilience is built through the everyday, every minute habits and exercises that punctuate our daily lives”
– Linda Grafton, Professor, London Business School

Given much of our daily lives is spent at work, how do organisations best provide targeted training, appropriate nudges and clear direction to strengthen resilience in teams? Importantly, how can leaders ensure that resilience habits and skills are integrated into business-as-usual activities?

In our experience, the most important first step before any resilience intervention initiative, and one that is often skipped, is to assess the robustness of the resilience skills of each individual team member:

  • Does each person in the team have the necessary skills?
  • Do they use and demonstrate these skills regularly?
  • Are they able to draw on these skills when the team is under pressure, or when there are extraordinary demands?

It is often helpful to use resilience surveys or psychometric assessments to inform this process, and the data can also provide a benchmark from which to measure the effectiveness of any interventions.

Alongside this first step, it is also essential to assess the resilience of team leaders and managers—they are the leaders who will have the most influence and impact on teams. We know that it is difficult (if not impossible) for leaders to lead resilience if they are not resilient themselves. At minimum, leaders who do not have strong personal resilience do not have credibility with their teams to effectively lead resilience initiatives. Again, it is often helpful to use some form of resilience measurement to guide this assessment process.

Lastly, assessing the resilience of the team itself:

  • When does the team demonstrate resilience?
  • Are there times when team resilience has faltered?
  • What are the barriers? What has got in the way of team resilience at these times?

Informed by this assessment and benchmarking process, a targeted resilience programme can then be developed, focused on helping team members and leaders maintain or strengthen their skills during business as usual, as well as in times of high challenge―to ensure teams pull together rather than pull apart at such times.

Alongside the programme planning, we often use the metaphor of “scaffolding” as a framework for thinking about what systems or processes to put in place in order to lead teams to become more resilient.

We will write more about scaffolding in next month’s newsletter.

2015-11-04T22:16:22+00:00 November 4th, 2015|