5 ways to assess your teams’ resilience

Derek Robertson.jpg

Derek Robertson , CEO

(Chartered FCIPD, MCMI, MInstLM, NLP Practitioner and Coach) 

Author of The Great Cape Escapade (A Fable about effective meetings)

6 min read



The evolving world of work arguably makes resilience a core skill.  The strength of people’s health and wellbeing contributes to it.  But as Whitney Huston once sang “How will I know.”  Here are five ingredients to consider for your team.

Resilient teams

Resilient teams are like the reeds in Aesop’s fable.  When the giant gale subsided, the reeds bounced back whereas the mighty oak tree was up ended.  The tree’s rigidity was its downfall and the reed’s flexibility its quality.

What’s in it for you as a leader of a resilient team is an easier life.  Your energy and time moves more to development, strategy and future.  If you don’t focus on team resilience, to channel Simon Sinek, your energy goes down and in instead of up and out.  And that is bad for you, your teams and your organisation.

Quick assessment

Answer these two questions for your team.  They’re from our free TNA APP

“Resilient teams are able to bounce back from challenges and adversity really well.  Team members have the understanding and tools to build their personal resilience.”

How would you assess your team’s resilience?

Tick Today Tick A year from now
  Not as resilient as I’d like   -
  Resilient when things are good   Resilient when things are good
  Stay resilient in tough times   Stay resilient in tough times
  Genuine resilient team, the envy of others   Genuine resilient team, the envy of others


5 ingredients to resilient teams

#1 Confidence in themselves

Think of this in two areas:

Their job capabilities

Someone for example not confident with challenging people will be less resilient.  Not enough focus on people’s knowledge, skills and success behaviours directly affects their resilience.

Their inner dialogue

This is the biggest impact on their performance.  Included here are helping people with positive self-talk, developing a growth mindset and non training stuff like serving others and consciously demonstrating gratitude.

#2 Disciplined routines for their work

Help the team focus on the simple things we know contribute to good feelings and growing inner resources.  Top three suggestions are:

  1. Create a daily plan – with contingency- and replan part way through each day
  2. Use the task list to tick things off and so build those success feelings
  3. Keep important routines and rituals that impact directly on supporting resilience.  Like the team meeting where everyone contributes and you cover more than just task delivery.

#3 Social and family support

You ought to know your people and the levels of support they have beyond the team.  Be prepared to bolster gaps by providing it within the team.  As always, take care to enable and not become social worker/therapist.

#4 Knowing their strengths and weaknesses

Help people to know theirs and once you do to act on the results.  Take every opportunity for learning and action the results.  Remember knowing is different from doing.  These range from the simplicity of sharing practice to more formal resources like training to personal resilience resources that are easily accessible on the web.  My colleague places great store in a meditation app that includes sleep stories.

#5 Conversations about wellbeing

April (2021) CIPD’s Flexible working: Lessons from the pandemic has as the number one of seven strategies “Develop the skills and culture needed for open conversations about wellbeing.”

Start at the individual level by asking “How are you doing?”  Then ask it a second time to break through the ritual responses of ‘Fine’, ‘I’m ok’ and so on.  Then you can move on to the same questions in a team setting, using coaching questions like, “What support might you/we need?” or “What could help you/us right now?”

If that feels too forced discussion games like the Resilience game offer a way to strong discussions and actions in a gamified way.

Your takeaway

Building a resilient team asks you to:

  1. Notice how resilient your team is and how you want it to be
  2. Take straightforward practical steps to bolster their resilience
  3. Keep the conversations around wellbeing, actions and review going.

Final thought

A problem shared really is a problem halved.  Keep what you do simple, authentic and practical.  A Simply Health survey reported 67% of manages are bought in to the importance of wellbeing.  And the number is rising every day.

Your next action

Check out the following sources and downloads:

  1. Flexible working: lessons from the pandemic HR Guide
  2. Flexible working: lessons from the pandemic Line manager guide
  3. The digital Resilience Game helping people talk with one another.