Leading healthy and productive post-pandemic workplaces: Team Resilience

Dr Caroline Rook & Dr Can Ererdi

What is a resilient team? What does team resilience look like in a healthy and productive post-pandemic organization? How can we be resilient as a team when we are not together as we used to be?

These are the questions that the second webinar of the of the Henley Centre for Leadership Leading Healthy and Productive Post-Pandemic Workplaces Series explored.  Dr Caroline Rook and Dr Ana Graça delved into the concept of team resilience, with the aim of uncovering questions and assumptions that allow us to meaningfully engage in better practice for healthy and productive post-pandemic workplaces.

What is team resilience?

The essence of resilience in teams is the ability to deal with ongoing challenges, especially in a context where there is rapid change. Relating this to the post-pandemic workplace, the main question then becomes, “How can we be resilient as a team when we are not together as we used to be?”. Before we can answer this question, we need to answer another one: “How do we know a team is being effective?”. Dr Ana Graça argues that more time and resources are spent on action-oriented outcomes such as performance and goal achievement, with less time and resources on feeling oriented outcomes. Even less time and resources are spent on learning-oriented outcomes such as adaptation, but they are so important in challenging times such as crisis.

What does resilience look like in high performing teams?

The process of “cope-learn-bounce back” is key not just for individuals but for the team together. However, personal resilience varies in face of challenge and can affect the overall team dynamics. So, to create a resilient team is to create an effective team that “struggles well together”. In doing so, the importance of mental models within a team setting, where mindsets such as “we can work through this together” and “growing together” create unity and the concepts of “constructive conflict”, “support” and “learning together” encourage growth.

The role of leaders

Team resilience is highly connected with the individuals’ maturity, where leaders are expected to monitor both the team and the people they are working with, but also themselves. In the post-pandemic workplace, leaders and their teams need more time to create the authentic spaces in which people have the opportunity to catch-up, learn together, build stronger bonds as a team. When the next challenge hits leaders and their teams, they have a stronger base for coping and learning together.

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