Minisode 8: Seven Ways to Build a More Resilient Team with Jenn DeWall

In this special minisode, The Leadership Habit host, Jenn DeWall, shares her top 7 tips to build a more resilient team. In the face of the unforeseen challenges with COVID-19 and the economic fallout from the pandemic, it is more important than ever to foster resilience in yourself and others.

Full Transcript Below


7 Ways to Build a More Resilient Team with Jenn DeWall

Jenn DeWall:

Hi, everyone. It’s Jenn DeWall. And on this week’s episode of the Leadership Habit podcast, we are going to be talking about how to build a resilient team. We know that resilience is essential to compete in the landscape that we’re operating in right now, the pandemic, social unrest, the economy. So many things are causing us to think and ask ourselves, how are we going to manage this? That’s where it’s essential to have that resilient mindset. Your leaders, your staff, your organization needs to be able to say, “we can get through this.” Yes, it may not be what we planned. Sure. We may not even have any experience in how to deal with this, but we will persevere. So what is resilience? Resilience is a person’s capacity to respond to the pressure and demands of daily life. So essentially, it’s your ability to manage what’s thrown at you, and we need to step up and take ownership over how we respond to what’s thrown at us. This is our emotional intelligence because right now, we can’t choose the game. We can’t choose the rules. We can only choose how we play. So here we go! Here is how to create a more resilient team, seven things that you can do.

#1 – Start with the “Why”

The first thing that you can do to build a more resilient team. This is all about choosing how we play. We want to make sure that our people have exactly what they need and the environment that supports them to be successful, despite the challenging circumstances. So seven ways to build a more resilient team. Number one, start with “why.” You want to inspire a vision, okay? Help your team. Even yourself, think bigger. Connect them to why what they do is so essential to being able to weather this current challenge, too, deliver on these strategies and goals. You want to connect people with it.

The more connected that people feel to what they’re doing, the more passion will flow through them and give them more energy, more creativity to solve our challenges. It creates more innovation. We have to start with the why, if we don’t know why we’re doing something, then we may not place the same level of priority or importance on it. And so we may not get that desired result. We’ve got to start with the “why.” So how, how can you do that? As a leader, you can start by sharing the big picture, bring people in on the vision, your vision. Shouldn’t be something that’s just locked in a, in a meeting that other people are excluded from. Make sure to get everyone on board with it. Also, simplify the desired actions that you want people to take. Make sure they understand. What’s expected of them. Try to reduce as much ambiguity or uncertainty as possible.

#2 – Walk the Walk

Number two, and how to build a more resilient team, is to walk the walk. If you are not modeling the behavior that you want others to exhibit, you cannot expect them to do the same. Your employees— they’re going to catch on. If you’re maybe not confident, or if you’re feeling like your team or organization, isn’t going to find success or have the ability to navigate through the crisis. No one is going to have the confidence to believe that they can do it, or that their efforts will actually go towards anything. So you’ve got to walk the walk. If you want to have a resilient team, you’ve got to start by modeling that behavior and don’t expect your employees to do something that you wouldn’t be willing to do. From one of Crestcom’s classes, DWYSYWD, do what you say you will do. Make sure that if you make a commitment that you follow through on it. If you continue to make empty promises or you don’t have that follow-through, you, as a leader, are going to lose trust, which will then crumble.

And that’s an essential thing that you need for resiliency. You need people to be able to trust each other and trust the team that everyone’s going to come together.

#3 Re-Framing

Number three, re-frame your problems as opportunities we keep. We can all simply look at the problem and say, what was me? This problem is happening, and I can’t believe we’re there. Or we can look at it as an opportunity. What do we have to, what can we stand to gain? How can we adjust our processes to stay relevant? You can think about this through the expression of frame-storming. Think about different ways to frame the problem that maybe can be more empowering and motivating and help you see different solutions.

Re-framing your problems also requires you to break down the challenges. You don’t have to look at the challenges as one big thing, try to break it down into small micro-segments. So then it’s more manageable, and it’s easier for people to get behind. Also, ask yourself— when we’re in the problems, when we’re in our challenges, constantly ask ourselves for feedback. What did we learn? How are we going to do things differently? How can we prepare? Should anything like this ever happen again in the future? And also brainstorm bad ideas, think about things that maybe couldn’t work, because then at least you can get those out of the way. And maybe you’ll even be led to solutions that could work.

#4 Create a Safe Environment

How to build a resilient team, number four is to create a safe environment. People want to feel psychologically safe. Now that can mean feeling safe, knowing that they’re going into an organization that is taking safety precautions to keep them safe from the virus. But it also is going into an organization knowing that we’re free from discrimination, that we’re free from racism, we’re free from judgment.

That we’re free to also be able to make mistakes without an overarching negative penalty. Now, of course, some things are going to yield penalties. I’m not saying that we have to take those out, but we do need to make sure that we’re not creating a culture where people are afraid because the more that people are afraid, the less likely they’ll connect with each other. So relationships will be strained, or teams won’t be as strong together, and the more that they’ll actually just become nervous about doing anything. So they won’t want to take risks, and you might need risks right now, as we’re trying to think about more innovative solutions to manage and overcome the challenges of today.

#5 Develop Others

Number five, how you can build a resilient team is to develop others. I know it’s easy sometimes to think that we don’t have enough time. Or we might think someone else knows it, but check-in, because the more that we diversify and spread and share the knowledge throughout our organization, the more agile, the more competent and confident our organization will be at solving challenges.

So we need to make development a priority, especially now when we’re likely facing any type of adversity. That’s when we might think we don’t have the time to do it, but this is when you actually really need to. You want to make sure that everyone feels fully capable and confident to be able to approach that challenge or work with less resources and find a solution that’s going to work.

So how can you do this? How can you develop others? Well, create a team strengths list, think about opportunities to cross-train each other. So someone is good at one skill, like communication or pitching proposals. And another person is great at trying to mitigate or manage a process efficiency, cross-train them. Help them look at those solutions and learn from each other and designate development time. Make sure that even though I know we’re busy, I know we might not feel like we have a lot of time, try and offer one to two hours a week to your staff, to just focus on their development. The more developed they are, the more they’ll be able to handle these challenges and think bigger to yield a better solution.

#6 Provide Ownership

Number six, how to build a resilient team, provide ownership. People want to feel again. They want to have meaning for what they do. They want to know that their efforts, their energy, their problem solving, it’s all for a purpose. Give people the opportunity to show you what they’re capable of. Now, this is going to require you to delegate, make sure that you’re not just hogging everything to yourself. And sometimes we do that because we’re guided by maybe perfectionism or just the belief that someone can’t do it as great as I can. But the more that you do that for yourself as a leader, the less time you’re actually going to be able to have to focus on things that are going to help you develop. So give people the opportunities to continue to grow themselves, provide ownership.

#7 Offer Intentional Feedback

And number seven, offer intentional feedback, be clear on the needed change that you want. Be clear on the behavior. It’s all about providing the facts here. Don’t just avoid feedback because it makes you uncomfortable, or you think it might make that person uncomfortable. Be aware of how that feedback could potentially benefit them. The team, the organization, assume positive intent. People really want to feel like they’re working towards something greater than themselves. And they also want to be valued. They want to make an impact. And feedback is one of the ways that you can ensure that they’re receiving feedback that they’ll feel proud about.

I hope you enjoy this week’s minisode or this episode of leadership habit on how to build a resilient team. Join us for the rest of this month’s episodes, as we’ll be covering more resiliency topics.