Recently I did a video blog on developing resilience because four months into a worldwide pandemic, we need to start implementing a strategy for what's next. On the surface that is just a sentence: bring your key leaders together, get out the white board and brainstorm until you come up with workable ideas.
But this is not a normal "because-the-market-has-changed strategy session". This is a "because everything has changed" strategy session. Once you consider how to move forward in the current VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) world, the second place you need to evaluate is the team you are working with (the first was you, just in case you haven't had coffee yet).
What has your team experienced over the last four months? Have they worked from home or continued to come into the office? If working from home, how is the arrangement working? Are they having challenges in marriages or other primary relationships? Might they be concerned about how their children are faring? If your team members are struggling to complete assignments or balance this new normal, do they feel safe enough to tell you? As a leader, are you asking the questions that uncover their state of mind, or just "zooming in" for meetings and to give assignments?
According to Patrick Lencioni's leadership fable, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, the first need of a successful team is trust. A strong foundation of trust on your team will allow individuals and the collective to let you know if they are drowning. Workplace teams are being stretched -- even those who appear to have it all together are thinking about what's next. How honest can your team be with you? It depends on how honest you are with them. As you model honesty and vulnerability, your team members can safely express those same values. One point to consider is how mistakes are addressed in your organization and by you? According to the Roffrey Park Institute:
"Resilient teams do not view mistakes and failures as problems that are the end of the world for everyone. Instead, they can reframe mistakes positively as challenges, and perceive them as opportunities to learn. Resilient teams also have managers who create a psychologically safe space for their members to make mistakes and never resort to harsh punishment when someone fails."
Here is just one of the ways we can help our teams become more resilient: by removing the association between shame, punishment and what looks like failure in meeting a performance goal. If your team members are free to safely share their concerns about what's happening in their work and lives without scorn, you could see the beginning of a team that is not only resilient, but that brings new creativity and energy into your workplace.
Michele Aikens is CEO and Lead Coach of Sepia Prime Communications & Coaching. Feel free to connect with her if you or your organization needs help by clicking here.