How to create more resilient teams: 6 strategies that your team needs to adopt

When I was growing up, I didn’t think too much about the world of business and companies.

In fact, I wasn’t what is now considered as possessing a young entrepreneurial spirit.

But I was always interested in people-watching.

I’m fascinated by why people do what they do.

What works well for some teams? And what doesn’t work for others?

Fortunately, it is something I do well, too.

So, it’s not surprising that the idea of resilient teams came into my sights.

Let me explain …

I just love teams

All successful companies have excellent teams.

Just consider Microsoft, Google, or Apple.

Do you think their managers worry about how adaptable their teams are?

Are they worrying if their teams will respond well to change?

Do they stay up worrying about such things?

Of course, they do.

And, you should be concerned too.

It doesn’t matter whether you feel like you’re in control of your team or not. It doesn’t matter what they’ve done in the past. How experienced or passionate they are. How confident or magnificent. Or, how scared or nervous they get around changes.

You need to lead them. You must inspire them. Instruct them. Cajole them. And place yourself in their shoes.

I’ve learned that no team instantly becomes resilient.

But all teams can develop these skills. And there is an amazing opportunity to develop your team, right now.

Want to know how?

To develop an excellent team, focus on six strategies that your team needs to adopt.

1. Let them assess their own work

I used to think that managers were solely responsible for assessing work. But that’s limiting the opportunities for teams to self-manage.

So first, ensure your team is change-ready. Next, encourage self-assessment. Include feedback if necessary. And move away from a culture of finding blame to one of implementing solutions.

I’ve discovered that initial constructive feedback enables teams to honestly consider the quality of their work. It also allows for time to consider learning. And an understanding of how performance marries with their own expectations.

As this insight for teams develops, team members begin to evaluate their own work. As a leader, you guide discussions on “What was easy or challenging?” “What might be done differently next time?” and “What can be learnt from this situation that can be applied across the company?”

Makes sense?

2. Encourage the development of their own standards

A resilient team isn’t just about instigating a new system. Following a process. And explaining what to do.

To set a team in motion, you need more than a few magic tricks.

Teams are enabled to develop their own standards and avoid statements like “I didn’t know that was the quality of work you were looking for?”

Equally, teams won’t be frustrated with mixed messages/standards from management.

And all efforts are evaluated in a fully transparent way.

3. Stimulate a culture of humor

Leaders who inspire their team combine an enthusiasm for their work. A desire to improve situations. And a sense of humor about what can be achieved.

Of course, this is not a “funny, ha-ha mode”. It’s more of an eagerness or acceptance that it is OK to make mistakes. As long as there is learning.

But why?

I’ve discovered that there is a humor that is a daily part of life in a working environment. 

Plus, in times of great change, you need to resist opportunities to negate humor.

Humor does not distract from the seriousness of the change at hand. However, being able to laugh within a team about mistakes, errors, and even changes cuts tension. And lessens concern.

In fact, humor is a natural release mechanism for many individuals.

So, it should not be denied.

4. Start setting their own rules

When you write rules, do you think of the person you’re developing the rule for?

Perhaps, you ask how it impacts them? What difference it will make for them? And you might explore how you came about that rule.

Your rulemaking must be set within a context that involves people.

Rulemaking is also a way for employees to practice their own quality standing. Having open discussions on rules invites your team to determine consequences. And they can reflect on concepts like the reasons for rules. Plus, the instances when they apply.

By creating their own rules your team develop responsibility/ ownership for their own behavior. For one another. And for the team.

Sounds great, right?

5. Maximize opportunities to make choices

We’ve all experienced a time when choices were limited to us.

I don’t like that feeling.

We feel constrained. Contributing seems pointless. Promises are futile.  And our passion is suffocated under powerlessness.

Start developing your teams by imagining your ideal team in mind. Pay attention and make the team more human. And more real.

Remember, facilitating choices encourages creativity within your team. It also reinforces ownership of the consequences of making certain decisions.


6. Create opportunities for self-discovery

Introducing this step can be tricky.

But not impossible.

You just need to walk the talk.

Here’s how …

I’ve learned that it is essential to create opportunities for self-development and discovery. Being adaptable requires an ability to look inside. Take ownership of our emotional reactions to change. A capacity to distance yourself from these emotions. And learning how to respond to the situation and not the emotion.


Welcome to a change mindset

We all think of our teams as just a group of individuals. But each team member experiences things in their own way. So, consider where they come from. Their background. Their pain points. Their sources of pride.

And explore how to engage them in your team.


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Kay Fitzgerald M. A.

Kay Fitzgerald is a health promotion specialist, course developer and researcher studying personal resilience in the workplace and trauma. Catherine received her Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Studies and a Master’s in Health Promotion from University College Cork.

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