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Ask a leadership expert:
How Can Leaders Build a More Resilient Team?

By Jenn DeWall Confidence and Leadership Coach & Keynote Speaker & Trainer.

Leaders today have many challenges. The last few years have been unpredictable and difficult, to say the least. We all need to take steps to boost our own resilience, and if you lead a team— you can help them become better at adapting to change or adversity. It’s important to understand that resilience is not a characteristic you are born with. It is a skill that can be learned and improved with practice! 

How to Build a More Resilient Team

Every leader can take steps to build a more resilient team by taking the time to do a few simple things. 

  • Make psychological safety a priority. Teams that feel safe and supported at work are much better at tackling unexpected challenges and rebounding from stressful situations. As a leader, you set the tone for how your team interacts. Make sure that respect is the utmost priority. People should feel safe speaking up, asking questions, and making mistakes without fear of punishment or humiliation. 

  • Strengthen connections. One of the best ways to manage emotions and support one another is to create positive relationships on your team. Take the time to get to know the people you lead. Give your team opportunities to strengthen personal connections through team-building activities. A team that can have fun together will be able to face challenges together!

  • Practice servant leadership. Remember that a leadership role is an opportunity to serve others. Servant leaders care about the personal well-being of their teams and focus on removing obstacles to their success. Keep your ego in check, and remember to share credit for wins and take the blame for the losses. 

  • Model resilience for your team. To build team resilience, you must lead the way. You can model healthy behavior for your team, like taking breaks when needed, using your time off and encouraging them to do the same. Help them learn to reframe negative thoughts and statements. When you hear your team engaging in negative self-talk or focusing on doom and gloom, help them see the positive. Remind them of other times they have overcome challenges and succeeded, and connect their hard work to a greater purpose or vision. 

  • Acknowledge reality. If things are hard right now, don’t tell your team it is all in their head—nothing is more discouraging than feeling like your struggle is unseen. You don’t need to have all the answers, but remember that as a leader, you usually have access to more information than your team. Help them understand the big picture, and let them know you will be there to help and guide them along the way. 

  • Listen more than you talk. The most impactful thing any leader can do to build a more resilient team is to listen to them. Leaders often make the mistake of giving an inspiring speech or pep talk and thinking their job is done. That approach can make team members feel misunderstood or condescended to. Instead, take time to really listen to your team’s concerns and challenges. You may uncover issues you were unaware of or discover communication gaps you can help fix. But more importantly, when people feel listened to, it helps them feel less overwhelmed and less alone in stressful situations. 

Jenn DeWall is a leadership speaker, facilitator, trainer, and podcast host. Jenn is a Millennial leadership and workplace culture expert based in Denver, CO. Do you want to create a culture of belonging? Contact Jenn today.

Are you looking for an engaging keynote speaker, workshop facilitator, or trainer? Book Jenn for your leadership needs today!