Resilience is topical. You’re probably hearing talk about building resilient organisations and having resilient staff. But what does it mean and how can you achieve it?


Resilience: the definition

Resilience is how well people can bounce back. How quickly can they recover from a crisis or something unexpected or a huge change. The quicker they can recover, learn from it, make improvements and move on the better their well-being is and the well-being of their organisation.

It makes sense to be resilient

 With one in four people suffering from a mental health problem and one in ten people going off sick because of high levels of stress, we need to know how to create organisations with environments that retain and attract people, not push them under.

How to create resilient organisations and teams

I help leaders create resilient organisations and teams: contact me if you’re interested in learning about creating a resilient strategy. When dealing with incidents and helping their teams “bounce back”, I always advise leaders to follow these three steps:

  1. People can only take so much change – accept their limit.

There is only so much people can take before they really can’t bounce back; before they finally have the straw that breaks their back piled on to them. Recognise this. Accept it. Work with it.

So, if you have just reorganised your leadership team – leave them be! Let them get used to the changes. Do not bring in something else like a reorganisation. Sometimes strategy doesn’t take into account the fact that human beings need time to get used to something or to get over something like a crisis. Be the smart leader and build your strategy taking into account how much change your people can handle and set the pace accordingly.

  1. Thank your team – personally….and mean it

There may have been a crisis that has tested people, sometimes to their limit. Or perhaps there has been a huge period of uncertainty or change. Thanks to the team pulling together and giving extra, you have got through this.

If you want to help your team be able to bounce back quickly and get back to “business as normal”, you need to show them gratitude.

This means that you, personally, have to acknowledge how each and every one of them worked through this crisis and acknowledge that because of this effort, you have got through the other side. This personal acknowledgement is a sign of respect. It allows people to feel acknowledged. It builds respect and trust. And it means that when the next predicament occurs, your team are prepared and ready to give that extra again rather than think, “Why bother? It’s not like they noticed last time when I put myself out.”

  1. Build in time out

It is hard to bounce back and be resilient if you are feeling worn down and depleted of energy and motivation. As a leader, it is up to you to build in time out from the work schedule so your team can replenish and recover.

I cannot emphasise how important it is to stop in the working day and take a breather. This is incredibly difficult to do. I always recommend Mindfulness techniques as they give you those vital few minutes to stop, breathe, and regroup.

You can also do other things such as reward team members with interesting courses; courses for them that they will enjoy, rather than attend a tick box exercise for appraisal purposes. Many of my clients have asked me to train their team members in coaching skills; a course that equips them to deal with and navigate obstacles thrown at them, adding to their people and management skills.

Build resilient teams…start with yourself

Finally, if you want to build a resilient team and organisation, you need to make sure that as their Leader you are equipped to bounce back. Whether it is through one to one coaching, Mindfulness Training or learning coaching techniques yourself – take the time to learn and develop ways to keep you resilient.

And If you want to discuss how to create an organisation full of resilient team members then email me for more information on my ONE day summer course – Creating a Resilient Workforce