What is team resilience?

Team resilience is defined as a dynamic, psychosocial process which protects a group of individuals from the potential negative effect of the stressors they collectively encounter.

Resilience is a helpful personality trait for any individual to possess. It aids in overcoming hardships and setbacks in life and helps 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.

What do resilient teams have in common?

In a work environment, people seldomly 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?

  • 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 over-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.
  • 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 makink spontaneous decisions when needed.
  • The ability to improvise is vital for successful teams. They must be able to deal with sudden setbacks and develop new ideas. To successful do so, teams must evaluate knowledge gathered from past experiences and reconsider them to find solutions fitting the current situation.
  • 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.

You want to learn more about resilience? Check out our posts on Resilience and Business Resilience.