Skills for Teams: Build Resilience

by May 17, 2021Skills for Teams0 comments

Life in an office isn’t always rosy. Sure, the highs should outnumber the lows, but that still leaves room for a plethora of potholes scattered along the long hard road to success.

To a progress-focused culture, dealing with drawbacks sounds like hard, unrewarding work.

The good news? Expecting a company to function flawlessly, without any hiccups or setbacks, simply isn’t how reality works.

That means we need a way of keeping the hard times in perspective. If we got discouraged and ‘packed it in’ every time we hit turbulence, we’d never get anywhere.

In a team, tenacity pays dividends. That’s not to say it’s recommended to spend the bulk of your life pursuing unworkable solutions, like a dog chasing a semi-trailer…

But it does mean refusing to give up on the ones with genuine potential – even if it they take some serious elbow grease to get off the ground.

Of course, even though personal qualities of ‘grit’ and ‘resilience’ sound ideal, they don’t just magically arise. Like any buried talent, they have to be mined, refined, polished, machined, and cultivated.

Sometimes, the qualities, feelings and images we’re overly attached to can reveal themselves as foes of resilience. Take the thumping cliché of the ‘emotional rollercoaster’, often upheld as the ideal mindset for working on a complex project. As long as the highs outweigh the lows, it’s all good, right?

Wrong.

Unfortunately, this deceptively appealing metaphor completely discounts how easily the first ‘crushing dip’ can completely knock the wind out of any team. If you’re primed for maximum drama all the time, your jittery energy levels will soon collide with reality.

In contrast, genuine resilience often involves chipping away at a seemingly insoluble problem (think gradual erosion, not sudden explosion.)

When these ideals of consistency are applied to a team, it becomes clear that resilience and grit doesn’t involve discovering a cache of secret knowledge. Instead, it’s about celebrating the successes and moving on steadily, without being crushed by the inevitable disappointments.

Yet in this, as in so much else, our modern lives can work to frustrate our potential by rerouting us down cul-de-sacs. The seemingly endless promises of technological novelty, each more glittering than the last, can make a sturdy commitment to resilience seem a bit, well, pedestrian.

Even the social media apps we interact with during daily life are in on the scam, pouring fuel on the fire by incessantly honing our taste for novel, spectacular and unexpected experiences. While encouraging continual scrolling is a great way of selling advertising, it’s a pretty poor recipe for a steady, consistent mindset.

That’s why resilience and grit involve resisting the temptation to reach for the Latest New Thing. Working towards a goal that may seem impossibly distant requires an ability to prevent yourself from being shunted off course by soon-forgotten distractions, while keeping your unwavering eyes fixed to that shimmering object on the horizon.

The steady, consistent, collective momentum of a team can create great things – but to get there without burning up endless human-hours, a workplace must have faith in its people’s sustained commitment to reaching that elusive destination. That’s why at THINKA, we stress that the long, often painstaking (yet always inspiring) path towards collective achievement is essential to the growth of teams and the people within them.

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