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Building resilience in our teams

Posted by on in Stakeholder Management
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PSW HR Solutions have been working with several clients recently who are seeking to enhance the resilience of their teams. 

Significant and sustained organisational changes, negative media attention for an organisation and leadership changes have resulted in the resilience of team members being tested. 

People are worn down by the moving goal posts, ever challenging targets and uncertainty about their role and even their long-term future in tough economic environments. 

Workgroups with low resilience are often evidenced by the following HR challenges;

  • conflict in the workplace
  • low morale
  • staff turnover and absenteeism
  • low innovation and productivity

The good news is that people can always improve their capacity for resilience at any time in their life! 

Further, successfully leading your teams through challenging periods is actually an opportunity to build a culture of resilience and can strengthen the team – if it is managed well.

So how can we get our teams to move from the victim/blaming reaction to the learning/coping reaction?

Here are some strategies to help you create a resilient work culture

Evaluate Workload

Across public sector and private sector people are being asked to do more with less and it is critical to clearly discuss and clarify organisational expectations and priorities. You also need to ensure you carefully and objectively assess a healthy level of pressure versus unmanageable work demands. 

Many people thrive in challenging work environments but where this balance is out people quickly feel anxious and defeated. The key is open communication with your teams regularly about their workload.  Leverage the opportunities offered through the structured performance discussions processes.

Empower your people

Where people feel they have little control to influence decisions or events, particularly where they affect us directly, we become very stressed. We often do not know all the facts and that adds to the pressure. 

Where reasonable involve your teams in decision making at all levels, consult wherever possible to solve problems and offer a variety of ways for teams to provide feedback. 

Keeping people informed about decisions and providing opportunities to contribute builds engagement and creates a resilient culture.

Resource your teams

People managers have an important role in ensuring teams have adequate resources, training and technology to do the work required. It is vital to make a conscious effort to fix niggling problems quickly as they amplify our frustration in pressured environments.  Save the stress for the big-ticket items, not annoying technical or process problems!

Prioritise expenditure on creating improvements that enable people to meet their goals as easily as possible.  Focus on continually developing skills in your team and consider ways they can grow their capability with incremental challenges. Growth builds confidence which underpins resilience.

Create positive work relationships

People’s relationships with their colleagues and their managers can often define how they feel about work. Lack of support, aggressive and/or disengaged management styles will quickly demoralise the team.

To counteract this, build in routine  practices that actively create positive relationships within the team as part, for example open communication processes.  Communicate appropriate workplace conduct and ensure the standards around positive behaviours are maintained. You should also monitor your own leadership style when under pressure and reflect on whether you need to adapt your style to meet the current circumstances.

Create positive strategies to support change

Change is an inevitable part of our lives yet it is constantly recorded as one of the major triggers for stress. It is helpful for your teams if you acknowledge how stressful and challenging it can be. You can then build engagement in the process by celebrating even small wins along the way where you can. 

In addition, regular updates on progress are critical to keep teams energised. You can also role model positivity about the changes and consciously use positive language. This serves to encourage people to shift their thinking from focusing on what is lacking or going wrong towards what is working well and how they can build on it to create new opportunities.

For more information on options to develop a resilience culture in your organisation, please get in touch.

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