Resilience is a core characteristic of every good team. But what makes a team resilient? How can managers ensure they foster a resilient culture? Use the principles behind these seven Cs to build a strong and flexible team.
Resilience is one of the newest and most promising buzzwords within the human resources (HR) space, which may give the impression that team resilience is already firmly entrenched in global workplaces. However, surprisingly few teams are actually resilient, which gives rise to a host of challenges, especially for organisations that are facing adversity.
Individual, team and organisation-wide resilience have long been considered crucial factors in a company’s ongoing success. The subject is being emphasised even further today because of disruptive business models and the notable changes happening in technology.
Today, it’s more crucial than ever before to foster team resilience, as according to data from RallyBright, just a mere 2% of teams truly classify as resilient.
Understanding the importance of resilience
There is a good reason more and more organisations are focusing on employee and team resilience. There’s more pressure than ever before for employees and their teams to maximise their potential and drive value for their employers.
Teams that are not resilient have limits on what they can achieve, and this can limit an organisation’s growth and progress.
Resilient teams that encounter obstacles are significantly more likely to continue persevering until they have overcome them. They’re committed to doing whatever it takes to reach key business goals, even if there are adversities and unexpected challenges along the way.
On the other hand, businesses that are not resilient won’t be able to achieve the growth and success they want in most cases.
When performance gets measured, questions get asked about team members’ perceptions of their performances. In many cases, teams that are meeting their KPIs and goals still measure their performance as low.
Resiliency is not as much about teams feeling good about their work as it is about ensuring that all team members are reaching their true potential over time.
The seven Cs of team resilience
Teams that follow the 7 Cs of team resilience are better equipped to handle the unexpected and support each other, and their employers, through adversity.
Resilient teams have shared values, history, purpose, cultures and identities that bind them together in pursuit of a common goal. They share information with each other to paint pictures of their histories, identities, and strengths.
This helps teams to understand exactly who all the team members are together, which creates resilience and reduces conflict and misunderstandings.
Resilient teams are highly competent, and have the knowledge, skills, capacity and drive they need to meet your business’s demands, even during times of crisis. They have all the abilities and knowledge they need for success and share these competencies with each other to strengthen the team as a whole.
Resilient team members are aware of each other’s cultures, personalities, and viewpoints, and have built equally resilient relationships with one another. Each member of the team is treated as an individual worthy of respect, rather than simply someone who is filling a certain role.
Resilient teams commit to each other and to their employer and share core missions and goals. They show each other respect, dedication and loyalty, and are always ready to offer time, effort or money to support their colleagues during times of stress and adversity.
They also keep their promises to each other and protect one another under difficult circumstances.
Members of resilient teams are properly informed about events taking place in their workplaces.
They happily share information with each other and encourage creative and critical thinking, questioning, dialogues, and different points of view. Even during conflicts and misunderstandings, they communicate clearly to ensure that all team members stay on the same page.
Effective teams collaborate across their organisation to reach their own key goals, which should align with the overarching goals of the organisation. Teammates coordinate their efforts and work through issues to ensure that they work in sync with one another at all times.
Resilient team members are considerate and respectful of their colleagues while supporting both their professional and personal needs. They are grateful and appreciative of each other for their efforts and are eager to recognise and applaud a job well done.
How resilient are most teams?
RallyBright uses the 5 dimensions of team resilience (direction, connection, alignment, performance and attitude) to rank the resilience of teams into 5 categories, from least to most resilient.
One of their sets of statistics shows the results of a survey of Fortune 500 companies and provides an estimation of what percentage of teams fall into each resilience category.
The lowest level of team resilience, dubbed anti-group, contains 3% of the teams surveyed. These teams contain team members who contribute individually and work on an individual level but are unable to work effectively as a team, especially in the face of adversity.
The next level is the working group level, which contains 17% of the teams surveyed. Working groups are aligned for certain purposes, but their members still function as individuals. They have not realised that teams can achieve more as a collaborative unit than they can when each person works on their own.
A further 62% of the teams surveyed fall into the evolving group category. Evolving groups have all the same traits as working groups, but their members have started to view each other as part of a cohesive team.
They understand how important it is to share a purpose, and have started to work together towards a shared vision with a flexible and positive mindset.
The performing group category contains 17% of the teams surveyed. Performing groups have already come together and acknowledged that an aligned team can achieve far more than a group of individual employees. Members of these teams trust each other and share a variety of common goals.
Last is the resilient group category, which contains just 2% of the teams surveyed. Resilient teams have all the characteristics of performing groups and are willing to share their own resources to help other team members, as they genuinely understand the importance of compromise and collaboration when it comes to achieving organisational goals.
What does a resilient team look like?
It’s challenging to measure an abstract concept like resilience, but it’s possible when identifying certain behaviours that indicate that an individual or team is resilient in the face of adversity. There are 5 dimensions of team resilience that organisations can use to highlight precisely where they need to focus their efforts to improve the overall resilience of their operations.
These 5 dimensions of team resilience are:
Direction. Your team should have a clear, shared purpose.
Connection. You should be able to trust your team to do the right thing in line with organisational goals and projected milestones.
Alignment. Your team should align with other departments within your business while keeping up with the latest industry trends and consumer demands.
Performance. Your team should be meeting their goals and fulfilling their promises.
Attitude. Your team should harbour a mindset of success and flexibility, especially when faced with stress and challenges.
Using these dimensions as an assessment allows individual team members to focus on what they can do to make the biggest possible impact within the context of their teams.
Do resilient employees make for resilient teams?
Team resilience refers to the capacity of a team of people to collectively respond to adversity and disruption in a flexible manner. In the face of challenges, resilient teams maintain a high level of productivity while doing everything in their power to reduce the impacts of these challenges on their peers.
With that said, it’s essential to note that individuals with high resilience do not necessarily create resilient teams. An organisation may have resilient staff who perform well as individuals during times of crisis.
They may even recover rapidly after unexpected events. However, these individuals may still find it challenging to respond to crises as a team if they do not work effectively with one another as a whole.
As a new manager, you cannot be entirely responsible for fostering resilience within your team. Each and every team member needs to work on their own capacity for resilience to achieve this. What you can do is use the 7 Cs of resilience and other methods to create the sort of work environment and culture that supports your team while they build the resilience they need.
Managers’ roles in building resilient teams
Managers have a critical role to play in building more resilient teams and employees. Here’s what you can do to ensure that your team has the tools it needs to withstand adversity.
Leadership requires humility, strength of character, and empathy. The most successful managers and leaders are those who are able to inspire people through showing empathy during difficult situations and believing in the potential of others.
Empathising with your team members means drawing on your past professional and personal experiences to provide honest support, offer guidance, and let them know that you understand what they are going through.
It’s important not to assume that you know how someone feels, but to ask them instead and listen with authentic interest and empathy.
Team leaders need to communicate clearly and effectively to build resilient teams. While workplace communication is important in virtually every professional setting, it isn’t always as concise or meaningful as it could be.
Some studies have shown that as many as 50% of workers feel that meetings are a waste of their time and should get reduced or eliminated entirely.
You can build your team’s resilience by communicating consistently and regularly, being clear on each team member’s roles, responsibilities and deliverables, explaining your company’s ultimate objectives, and keeping in touch with your team using a single communication channel to make sure that everyone is on the same page.
Encourage open and honest communication among your team to ensure that members feel comfortable speaking honestly with you and each other. It’s also important to build connections with your team members so that you can deeply understand their experiences, perspectives, and adversities.
This can help to build resilience by creating a more compassionate, trusting and engaging work environment.
Show appreciation for your team
Any show of appreciation can have significant positive effects on a team’s productivity, morale, and diligence. It’s crucial that every member of your team feels like their input is recognised and valued.
Celebrate those team members who go the extra mile to uphold your organisation’s values and reach key company milestones, and boost morale by asking your team members to share their biggest recent successes with one another.
Support your team
Creating a supportive work environment for your team, particularly during stressful situations, is the key to building organisational resilience. Providing support will help to ensure that everyone can adopt a growth mindset and achieve the goals you need to reach for company-wide growth.
Supporting your employees is simple. Take time to ask each team member how they are doing, if they’re struggling with anything, and how you, as a manager and the rest of your team, can best provide support. Using this information, you can create a needs assessment that pinpoints specific individual and team requirements.
Additionally, it’s an excellent idea to encourage your team members to raise issues when they feel the need, and let them know that it’s alright to feel stressed or anxious during difficult situations. Offer them actionable advice and assistance where needed, but bear in mind that in most situations, the best thing you can do is listen!
Creating a team resilience plan using the 7 Cs of team resilience will help you as a manager to create more flexible, resilient and innovative teams that work cohesively together towards the common goals of your organisation.
Leaders who prioritise the 7 Cs have more robust teams that can thrive during periods of adversity and are prepared for the unexpected.
They are more open-minded and collaborative during crises, and share resources among their teammates to ensure that everyone has the support they need to get through challenging times while maintaining excellent productivity.
About the Author
With a background in event marketing and a passion for writing, Kylie Wall loves to cover promotional events and dive into even marketing strategies. When she’s not writing, she enjoys the occasional glass of wine, watching lifestyle shows, and dreams of running her own cafe.