Every business is bound to face challenges at some point. The way your team handles such trials reveals whether they’re prone to succumb or overcome. Your team may experience unexpected delays in the supply chain that make it harder to meet deadlines. Or internal conflict may arise due to differences in personalities or varying opinions on how to get things done.
Whatever the difficulties may be, savvy business owners know team resilience is key to overcoming setbacks and meeting expectations. Often, the difference between success and failure comes down to the tools you carry in your proverbial toolbelt. Here are four ways you can equip your team with one of the most powerful coping tools available: resilience.
1. Own Mistakes
Resilience is not just about surviving tough times and coming out a winner on the other side. It’s also about owning and learning from mistakes so you can avoid making them again. If your team members immediately blame others for their missteps, they’ll never become resilient.
Owning up to mistakes and learning from them is a critical skill that’s tied to resilience. One could argue that it’s impossible to develop resilience without experiencing failure first. People who can roll with the punches tend to view failure as an invaluable source of feedback. Though setbacks are frustrating, a resilient person can learn from them and forge a more successful path in the future.
To develop a team that can bounce back, foster a culture of admitting to mistakes. Discuss the actions that led to those errors and how they can be prevented going forward. In some cases, setbacks may be totally outside of your team’s control. That’s why it’s so important to take things on a case-by-case basis when determining whether performance improvement measures are necessary. If you deal with employees fairly, they will find it easier to take ownership of their actions and thus become more resilient.
2. Build a Team Connection
Resilience is so much easier to achieve when you know you have a team of capable people supporting you. Some of the most talented and impactful teams aren’t necessarily composed of the most brilliant people on the planet. Rather, they’re made up of individuals who trust each other and know how to cooperate effectively.
Too often, members of the same team feel like they’re pitted against each other. This may happen due to competition for similar promotions or opportunities. It may also occur when employees want to gain favor in the eyes of management. It’s important to pay attention to how your team members interact with each other. If they seem distrustful of one another, it’s time to strengthen the team connection.
Don’t worry, you don’t have to line your employees up and have them do trust falls all day. There are much more effective (and fun) ways to build resilience and camaraderie. Regular team lunch-and-learns, happy hours and awards ceremonies are great for building a sense of connection. As your employees get to know and trust one another, collaboration will come more naturally. You’ll also notice that your team is better able to handle and deal with setbacks when the members work together.
3. Encourage Resourcefulness
The Predictive 6-Factor Resilience Scale lists resourcefulness among the reasoning skills that factor into an individual’s overall degree of resilience. Other character traits associated with resilience include tenacity, collaboration and vision. While there’s (probably) no college class that teaches resourcefulness, you can help instill this trait in your team.
The first step is to build a resourcefulness infrastructure. One way to do this is to provide the resources—it’s right there in the name—that enable employees to answer their own questions. Project management systems let employees know who’s doing what and who needs a project deliverable when they’re through with it. Knowledge bases make subject matter knowledge widely available. Cloud-based file-sharing systems give employees access to required documents without needing to request them from a colleague.
Not that employees have to solve every problem on their own—you can further encourage resourcefulness by making it normal to ask for help. Resourcefulness doesn’t always mean relying on oneself for answers. Often, the most resourceful people are those who lean on the knowledge of more experienced people to overcome a pressing challenge.
The best environment for resourcefulness encourages creativity and gives employees flexibility in how they resolve issues. Give your teams clear goals and objectives, but let them determine the best ways to achieve those goals.
4. Watch for Burnout
Too often, the idea of resilience is tied to unrealistic, superhuman-like expectations. But everyone has a limit, regardless of how resilient they may be. If your employees are pushed past their limits, they’ll eventually become physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted. Burnout is a phenomenon that can cost both your employees and your business dearly.
Burnout impairs job performance and often leads to major losses for employers. These losses may come in the form of increased healthcare costs, more employee sick days and loss of productivity. Burnout can also cause employee morale to plummet. Common signs of team burnout include disengagement, decreased work quality and increased complaining. If you notice these behaviors, take note.
There are several things you can do to improve resilience and avoid team burnout. One of the most important is to keep the lines of communication open. Ask team members how things are going and if they need more support for large projects. Welcoming feedback and addressing employee concerns can go a long way toward minimizing or eliminating burnout altogether. You should also encourage employees to take vacation time so they can relax and refill their energy stores.
The more resilient your team is, the less likely they are to get overwhelmed by the challenges they’ll inevitably face. A resilient team knows how to take failures and turn them into future wins. Incorporate the strategies above into your managing approach and watch your team become stronger and more effective.