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How Can Leaders Help Their Teams Build Resilience at Work?

Elise Jones Feb 17, 2021 3:49:48 AM

Resilience is a mindset that can help employees manage stress, handle conflict, and bounce back from challenges. As individuals and leaders, we know that resilience helps us thrive under pressure, but it can be hard to know how to build resilience at work.  Research has shown that there are three common factors that can predict whether people will be resilient or not. People who have disciplined routines for their work, high levels of confidence in their abilities, and a strong network of social and family support are shown to be the most resilient. But whether they’re predisposed to resiliency at work or not, most individual team members could benefit from a resiliency mindset. 

A 2003 study connected resilience to greater job satisfaction, work happiness, and employee engagement, while a 2002 article suggests raising resilience contributes to improved self-esteem, a sense of control over life events, and sense of purpose. These positive connections can have a real effect on employees’ lives, leading to a lower risk of employee burnout and less stress.

Fostering Resilience in the Workplace

It’s a good idea for managers and leaders to identify how their teams handle stress and whether or not it helps build resilience. 

Checking in with your team members individually to hear how they are doing or if anything has changed for them is a great way for leaders to get an idea of how their people are faring. These check-ins are a good way to take inventory of how your reports are doing in the three resilience categories and can be an opportunity to provide support where needed. 

Showing your compassion both as a leader and as a person is also a great way to establish resilience in your workplace. Being available to your employees, providing them with the tools and resources they need to do their job, and giving them the opportunity to take time if they need it for their family are ways to demonstrate that you value their contribution to the team as well as them individually as people. 

Creating an environment where your employees feel able to speak up about challenges they may be facing or asking for help also reinforces resilience and trust in teams. Something that may not have been an issue before might be difficult to address but supporting a culture of asking for help without fear of negative consequences will reinforce the trust of the team as well as help prevent burnout among high-performing workers. 

Resiliency and remote work

Otherwise-resilient employees may be feeling less so while managing the challenges of working from home. While most individuals have adjusted to their work-from-home routines, they still face challenges they didn't face while working in the office. Many employees are struggling to focus, find time for deep work, and establish work schedules that are sustainable, all while balancing the increasing demands of home life. 

Sometimes challenges with connection and routines can lead to lowered confidence in the work of otherwise-confident employees. Providing regular feedback, more frequent check-ins if necessary, and positive reinforcement can be a way to let your employees know that they are doing a good job. 

Steps to Encourage Resiliency

Demonstrating resiliency and allowing space for employees to build resiliency may still not be enough. As a leader, consider holding space for your employees to develop a thick skin of resiliency. Some tips include: 

  • Promote mindfulness. Studies suggest that mindfulness and resilience are linked. 
  • Encourage learning. Part of bouncing back from mistakes is learning from them.
  • Reward good work. Don’t only focus on teachable moments, but also reward high performers. 

Furthermore, individualized performance coaching has been shown to be an effective resource for building and maintaining resilience. Leaders already have enough responsibility and pressure, they do not need to be everything to everyone on their team. It’s frankly not possible for the team leader to discuss every challenge, stressor, or hurdle with each team member individually—and lead the team effectively. 

With individualized coaching, employees can better understand their reactions to situations, get the tools they need to better manage these emotions and responses, and develop and hone their skills in order to adapt to new situations. Coaching is also great for creating sustainable performance routines, as many high-performing workers who are geared toward action find themselves working longer hours, more intensely, and can be prone to burnout. 

Inspire Resiliency 

Being resilient in today’s professional world looks like more than just surviving. As we continue to need to adapt and improvise, learn new systems and technologies, and figure out how to continue to innovate and produce great work, we have an opportunity to be more mindful of our resilience in a way that many of us have never experienced or put much thought into before.

Schedule a demo to see how Valor’s leadership development can help cultivate resilience in your team and throughout your organization.

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