Team resilience is a helpful personality trait for any individual to possess and an integral part of team development. Resilience helps to overcome hardships and setbacks in life and finding the right way back on track. However, for a team, it is also important that individuals can successfully build resilience together. While individual resilience is built independently, team resilience must be cultivated with collaboration and the guidance of leadership.

We look at the benefits of team resilience for your company and show you how to build it within your team. Additionally, we explain the difference between team resilience and business resilience, and show you some strategies on how to keep your team afloat during difficult times. Resilience can help you through a number of hardships, and will be highly beneficial for individuals as well as the team as a whole.

Illustration of jets flying down, showing resillience.

TL;DR: Team resilience definition

The definition of resilience is a rather straightforward one: resilience provides individuals and teams with the emotional strength to deal with setbacks and hardships. It is a very valuable personality trait, not only because it offers people the mental ability to deal with minor as well as major problems, but also because it helps to bounce back after a time of struggle. People and teams lacking resilience can tend to get overwhelmed and have a hard time applying the right coping mechanisms when faced with a problem.

However, resilience does not necessarily equal mental toughness. Even resilient people will inevitably experience setbacks and hardships at some point in their lives. Stress, emotional suffering and loss are bound to hit everyone eventually. When someone is resilient, they have the emotional skills to work through these setbacks and eventually bounce back from difficult life events.

How to boost resilience

The good news is that resilience is not a personality trait one either has or not, but that it can be acquired. Developing resilience is not a one-size-fits-all model, and the process varies from person to person. However, there are some distinctive steps one can take to increase resilience over time.

  • Having a realistic but positive outlook can help to boost resilience. Instead of being overwhelmed by a certain task, it can be beneficial to look at the small steps that can be taken to tackle a problem. This way, it is easier to stay away from a negative mindset, but rather focus on one’s strengths and achievable goals.
  • Finding the right support system is also a vital part for increasing resilience. Talking about challenges and difficulties with family, friends or loved ones takes away feelings of loneliness as well as helplessness. It can also aid in looking at struggles from a different perspective and encourage discussions.
  • Healthy stress management is not only vital for increasing overall health and promoting a work-life balance, but also in acquiring a higher degree of resilience. This is more manageable when coworkers know about their responsibilities and roles within the team.

What do resilient teams have in common?

In a work environment, people seldom go through tasks completely on their own. Usually, they are part of a team and overcome hardships together with other individuals. This can become challenging. But what exactly are the traits resilient teams possess?

Trust: Members of a resilient team believe that they can face challenging tasks together. A healthy trust in each other’s capabilities is a vital part of establishing confidence. However, confidence also needs to be controlled. Being overly confident in their abilities can lead team members to be complacent and ignore signs of adversity. Too little confidence, on the other hand, can decrease the willingness to take risks. It should be the goal of the team to establish a healthy in-between.

Responsibilities: In order to work together successfully in a resilient team, members must be aware of their respective roles and responsibilities. For this to work, teams must share a common idea of teamwork. This aids them in successfully making spontaneous decisions when needed.

Adaptability: The ability to improvise is vital for successful teams. They must be able to deal with sudden setbacks and develop new ideas. To successfully do so, teams must evaluate knowledge gathered from past experiences and reconsider them to find solutions fitting the current situation.

Validation: For teamwork to be successful, members must trust each other and feel valued as well as safe. Resilience is boosted when team members are comfortable to propose creative ideas or offer constructive criticism. In a resilient team, members respect each other’s thoughts and ideas and trust that they will not be judged for them.

How to build a resilient team

Developing the attributes mentioned above is a great starting point to build a resilient team. However, there are certain ideal moments for teams to learn how to deal with hardships.

  • Before a challenge arises: It is the task of the leader to boost confidence and establish everyone’s place and function in the team. Having a clear set of goals, establishing hypothetical training exercises to master challenges ahead, and emphasizing inclusivity can prepare for a team to be resilient before setbacks come up.
  • During a challenging time: When a team finds itself in the middle of adversity, the leader should make sure to boost confidence and aid the team in finding a direction. When looking at challenges as opportunities to reflect and learn from, teams will inevitably become more resilient.
  • After a challenging event: Leaders should encourage their teams to reflect and debrief. Leaders also should encourage their teams to speak up and raise possible concerns. This ensures that teams learn from the challenges they were faced with and that they are adequately prepared for future adversity.

Did you know?

The personality type plays a vital role in whether a person has a resilient outlook or not. Take a look at our free team role personality test, to get to know the characters within your team better.

The 5 Cs of resilience

To successfully build a resilient team, the 5 Cs of resilience can be used as a great framework to achieve your goals. They concentrate on the core aspects that a team should develop to reach peak resilience. The 5 components are as follows:

  • Confidence: Inner strength and trust in oneself is vital for overcoming difficult times. Having a confident yet realistic view of one’s abilities can aid in dealing with stressful situations.
  • Community: Having someone to discuss troubles and worries with is vital in boosting resilience. Building a solid support system helps to gain new perspectives and releases stress.
  • Centering: Practicing exercise, healthy eating and mindfulness when faced with difficult situations. Centered people know their bodies and take a break or slow down when they need to.
  • Commitment: Having a persistent mindset and going through with planned tasks is another vital key to achieve a resilient mindset. It fosters the ability to look at the bigger picture and successfully problem-solve. The tendency to give up easily takes a toll on morale and sets a bad tone for the tasks ahead.
  • Compassion: Not only is it important to be surrounded with a great support system, but also to be there for others. Offering generosity, support and an open ear for people who might be struggling is a real resilience-booster.

Team resilience and business resilience: The difference

The term team resilience and business resilience are often used as synonyms. However, they describe two completely different aspects. Business resilience is concerned with the special measures companies can apply, to make their business and team prosper in the long run. Every business will face challenging and uncertain events at some point. For business to prosper, organizations have to anticipate, prepare for, respond and adapt to possible changes and disruptions. This is especially true when working in cross-functional teams. Having mechanisms and coping strategies in place to survive setbacks without serious interferences makes a business resilient.

The core values of business resilience include:

  • Adjustment of behavior to meet a shared vision and goal
  • The ability to absorb, adapt and effectively respond to change
  • Good governance and management
  • Having a diverse set of skills, knowledge and experience represented in the organization
  • Efficient risk management

Business resilience vs. business continuity

Even though the terms business resilience and business continuity share some important parallels, they are not the same thing. Business continuity ensures that an organization successfully and timely delivers resources, products and services during disruptive times. Business resilience, on the other hand, is an organization’s ability to deal with stress, recover and thrive when confronted with altered circumstances.

To ensure that a business survives these challenges and hardships without serious damage, there should be a business resilience as well as business continuity strategy in place. Until recently, establishing such plans had not been a priority for most companies. However, during the pandemic, the importance has become much clearer to many organizations.

Business resilience planning

Forming a business resilience strategy can is an important safety precaution for any company. Especially the last few years have shown that having a safety plan in place. Consider the following points when forming your very own business resilience strategy:

  • For a start, the threats and risks that could face an organization should be established. These risks can range from problems concerning supply chain orders to loss of critical staff. How will the business ensure that such hardships do not critically influence the availability of products and services? What strategies should the business implement and which resources should it provide?
  • In case of a major disruption or disastrous event, can the company track the availability and safety of all employees?  What training is needed to prepare employers for such a scenario, and which safety measurements should be implemented? Businesses should also consider how to put safety strategies in place after a major event is over.
  • The longer a business suffers from challenges and critical events, the greater the risk for financial loss will be. Business resilience planning should consider which processes and people are most essential for a certain operation. Then plans can be established to restore these functions as quickly and efficiently as possible.


In conclusion, team resilience is an essential trait for any group to succeed, especially in challenging times. A resilient team can adapt to changes, overcome obstacles, and bounce back from setbacks stronger than before. By fostering a culture of trust, communication, and collaboration, team members can support one another and create a sense of shared purpose that fuels their resilience. Additionally, celebrating successes, acknowledging mistakes, and learning from failures can help build resilience and strengthen team bonds. Ultimately, a resilient team is not only better equipped to handle adversity but also more likely to achieve their goals and fulfill their potential.

VIDEO: Build for resilience

FAQs Resilience

In our books, resilience is definitely both. It is a skill that can be learned and acquired over time with special resilience training. At the same time, having resilient people on your team is a massive strength for any company that is experiencing setbacks and hardships.

Low resilience can hinder your team in successfully overcoming challenges. Signs of low resilience are irritability, low moods, isolation, bad sleep quality, depressive episodes and overreacting.

Low resilience is often caused by tacking on too many challenges too soon. People lose resilience when they feel like they are unable to tackle a problem and overcome hardships. This is why resilience is best built within a team that shares roles and responsibilities.