Building Resilience: How Leaders Can Foster Endurance in Teams

Building Resilience: How Leaders Can Foster Endurance In Teams

How often have we heard the old refrain, “It’s a marathon, not a sprint?” This maxim highlights the need for endurance and applies to many aspects of life. Endurance requires resilience–a tough quality to build. Yet leaders recognize that to see projects through to completion, at a collective and individual level, they need to be able to head off challenges that come their way.

Some leaders use tough talk and cruel-to-be-kind approaches that all too often backfire and create toxic climates. By contrast, servant leaders model resilience, thereby showing team members the way.

Let’s explore ways leaders can foster endurance in teams and help them enjoy the journey–even the bumps in the road.

Encourage Open Communication

The media is full of reports of employees quiet quitting and loud quitting, but what’s behind these trends? It may often come back to the fact that many people simply do not feel listened to at work. 

A Gallup poll found that 18% of workers are “actively disengaged.” But what’s probably more telling is the 62% of people who are simply not engaged. Passive and uninterested team members can bring down the whole team and will probably jump to something new at the first possible opportunity.

So, to build endurance, build a culture of open communication. Here’s what that looks like:

  • Safe dialogues: An environment in which team members feel safe to express ideas, concerns, and observations. The safety comes from not being shot down, from not being patronized. While none of us expects all our ideas to be acted on all the time, simply acknowledging concerns and following through where appropriate can build trust.
  • Active listening: People sense your respect when you listen. It makes them feel valued and part of something. Listening can cultivate a sense of belonging, which makes it easier and more enjoyable for people to stay the course and weather storms.
  • Trust your team: Be willing to be vulnerable with your team. Let them know what you’re working on. Whenever appropriate, share information with them rather than hoarding it. People who feel trusted and empowered in their jobs are far less likely to head for the door at the first sign of challenges.

Embrace Failure

All teams want to be successful, yet at times, most teams will fail to some extent. How devastating an effect those failures have on your team will come down to how you, as the leader, view them.

Adopting a growth mindset

Effective servant leaders see failures as setbacks, not defeats. A setback is a moment to pause and reflect. Think deeply about questions such as:

  • What went wrong?
  • What could I control, and what couldn’t I control?
  • What would I do differently next time?
  • What do I need to do now to prepare to handle the situation better in the future?

While most of us still won’t relish these moments, with the right attitude, they can become valuable learning opportunities. How can you cascade this attitude to your team?

Building a Growth Mindset in Team Members

Right off the bat, modeling a growth mindset is essential. But you can’t expect your team to simply learn by osmosis, as it were. They need to receive constructive feedback to help them take ownership of their part in the setback and reflect, looking for areas for growth.

This may take the form of courageous conversations. They take courage because you may hear things you don’t want to hear and have to say things you’d rather leave unsaid. Yet, when they’re conducted for the purpose of mutual support and growth. They are crucial to helping your team members overcome fear, frustration, and blame that could hold them back from playing their part in a team that endures setbacks together.

Promote Flexibility

This does not mean expecting people to work all hours of the day. In the context of building resilient teams, it means creating a workforce that can flex and adapt when challenges come their way. One crucial element in this is cross-training.

If team members only understand and know how to perform their particular role, it can create a defensive atmosphere. When one person leaves, they leave a void that is tough to fill. Cross-training can help you reach a stage where team members are always learning and do not become proprietorial. It can also help you dynamically adapt to changing circumstances, fostering endurance.

Create and Respect Boundaries

Team members who either are, or feel they are, on-call 24/7 are going to get burned out, and your team will not endure. Worse than that, the effect on the individual’s life and family can be devastating in the long term. 

Even endurance athletes need rest periods to recharge and recuperate. Set clear boundaries around the use of technology outside of work time. If at all possible, try to keep weekends and evenings clear of work correspondence and phone calls. Reducing the use of tech in the workplace also has benefits.

Creating “no-tech” times or zones can help your team members talk face-to-face. A 2019 study noted that people who interact face-to-face develop stronger social ties than those who only communicate through technology. Strong bonds build strong teams. The mutual support people who have real relationships can provide is invaluable in building resilient teams that double down when the going gets tough.

Become a Leader Who Fosters Endurance

With the right mindset toward both your team members and adversity, you can become a leader who earns your coworkers’ trust. As they see you model the qualities you espouse, they will sense your authenticity. And as you lead them through adversity with positivity, accountability, and commitment, they will want to remain a part of your team for years to come.

At Aden Leadership, Greg Aden equips leaders and team members with the necessary skills to weather triumph and adversity as a united entity. The journey begins with a discovery call to identify your goals and agree on a roadmap for future sessions. Reach out and discover what Greg can do for you and your team today!

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