Resiliency May Be the Secret to Team Retention

BY Tim Londergan
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Leaders worldwide struggle to keep their teams energized in remote or hybrid work environments. Increasingly, leaders are feeling the burden of maintaining vitality when they, themselves, are feeling burned-​out. Consequently, this catch-​22 of emotions can negatively affect team retention and cause a downward spiral of damaging reactions.

This realization has prompted Keith Ferrazzi and CeCe Morken to collaborate on a new book, Competing in the New World of Work. Capsulated in an article in the Harvard Business Review, the authors focus on the value of resiliency and how this quality can ignite energy and improve team performance. First, let’s understand what resiliency is. According to verywellmind​.com, “Resilient people can regulate their emotions effectively. The ability to recognize that they are having an emotional response and to understand what is causing the response can help them better handle emotions and cope with the situation at hand.”

Improve team retention with collective resilience

The unprecedented challenges of the pandemic’s two-​year run have caused workers to rely on each other more than in normal times. In fact, remote work, can be preferrable to workers who find the added flexibility contributes to a favorable work-​life balance. Furthermore, the virtual behaviors and practices that tend to support colleagues in their jobs can be contagious. When these actions of mutual encouragement and genuine empathy among workers occur, supportive relationships are strengthened, and team retention becomes the by-product.

Virtual meetings do not automatically support teamwork

For many reasons, face-​to-​face meetings, or virtual group meetings, do not yield superior results. In fact, the authors cite one estimate that contends “70% of all meetings keep employees from working and completing their tasks.” Disturbingly, the loss of productivity, plus the questionable achievement led workers to blame management for their chaotic schedules. What’s more, 92% of employees find themselves multitasking during virtual meetings.

So, how can you help your employees take ownership of productive, inviting and even therapeutic meetings?

Strategies for team resilience

In a separate article for Harvard Business Review, Ferrazzi and others present seven strategies that can support efforts to build collective resilience for team retention. Importantly, the authors have identified four critical characteristics for resilient teams. Here is an example:

Candor” – Promote open, honest dialogue and pave the way for feedback with each team member.

Resourcefulness” – When called for, build creative and effective solutions to solve problems.

Compassion and empathy” – Deep, caring feelings cannot be arranged; they must be developed. Therefore, leaders need to study personality traits and assign membership to build teams that can achieve the desired results.

Understandably, a great amount of emotional intelligence and maturity is needed from all team members to accomplish the goal of supportive relationships. Moreover, the varied personalities of group members must be in sync for success.

The authors caution that the self-​awareness, trust and empathy needed to pull off collective resilience will not occur naturally. Therefore, leaders need to take an active role in “breaking down barriers and building foundations of trust, transparency and self-awareness.”

The importance of “check-​ins”

Any parent of an adolescent or leader of a twelve-​step program knows the importance of the routine check-​in. The authors honored the practice with a name and an acronym: “Personal Professional Check-​In (PPC).” Essentially, this ritual signals a solid beginning to a collectively resilient meeting where everyone can reveal their personal or professional struggles at the outset. Hopefully, the team has developed the trust necessary to allow this practice to celebrate successes and uplift those in need of support.

More tips for team retention

If you are looking for more inspiration or ideas to build resilient teams, you’re in luck. The authors’ GoForwardToWork​.com initiative offers best practices, team strategies and organizational systems that can help you create high performance teams.

Photo by Jason Goodman on Unsplash