Have you ever wondered what makes some teams so successful?
Many of us imagine that the secret to success at work is intelligence, working extra-long hours, or going above and beyond the job description. However, success in today’s workplace relies more on the capacity to cope, and even thrive, when faced with stress—a skill known as resilience.
According to the American Psychological Association, resilience is defined as the process of adapting well in the face of trauma or tragedy, threats, or other significant sources of stress. In the workplace, resilience can mean individuals and teams are better equipped to manage stress, solve problems, face challenges, know when to reach out for support, and quickly recover from mistakes.
Gallup’s Global 2022 Workplace Report revealed that 50% of people in North America experience significant daily workplace stress. While this type of stress may be inevitable, building resilience in yourself and in your team can help prevent burnout. And the good news is that resilience isn’t something you’re born with or not—research supports resilience as a buildable skill. Keep reading for tips on how to build resilience within your own team.
1. Create a strong support system
It’s vital to build trust and foster strong connections within your organization. Strong relationships give employees a sense of support and belonging, encouraging them to speak up, ask questions, share their challenges, and reach out for help when needed.
All teams should have several open channels of communication. Offering the space to open up and discuss how team members are feeling can help address problems as they arise and allow troubleshooting before a small problem spirals out of control. Try scheduling one-to-one meetings with time to speak candidly or sending out a brief weekly check-in survey. Approaching employee challenges with compassion and understanding can help your team feel comfortable to ask for help in the future.
It’s also important to create opportunities for community or social support in your organization. Try regular weekly social meetings (in-person or virtual) or encourage your team to form social groups based on interests. When your team has the benefit of social support, they will be better equipped to cope with stress at work.
2. Encourage healthy habits
Creating a healthy work environment can help your team improve both mental and physical health, and in turn, build resilience. Promote healthy habits through leading by example and incorporating flexible work policies.
Encourage your team to take breaks throughout the workday. These can be as small as taking a regular beverage break, having a meal, or getting outside for a few minutes. Breaks can help avoid getting stuck on a problem and allow you to see a challenge through a wider lens. Taking a brisk walk or practicing moments of meditation or mindfulness can help your team destress when they start to feel overwhelmed. Lead by example and model taking breaks to reset your energy and attention, increase productivity, and reduce stress.
Company policies and benefits such as paid time off, flexible work schedules, and wellness initiatives can support these habits and encourage a healthy work-life balance. Company-sponsored health coaching or counseling through an Employee Assistance Program can provide another outlet and support system for your team.
3. Cultivate a strong sense of purpose
Research supports the concept that having a sense of purpose is linked to greater resilience. In a broad sense, this can mean having a clear organizational mission and vision guiding a wider purpose. When the team’s purpose is clear, it empowers employees to make informed decisions and find meaning in the work.
At an individual or team level, setting attainable goals can provide a sense of accomplishment every day and allow you and your tea to look toward the future with meaning. Having clear and achievable goals in mind can also make larger or long-term projects seem less daunting.
Building a resilient team takes effort but can have a huge payout with improved employee morale, productivity, and reduced turnover.