3 Steps to Cultivate Resilience in Your Organization

In these fast-moving and unpredictable times, priorities are shifting quickly. As a leader, it’s important to take a step back and focus on what’s truly important. How are you helping your employees stay present and engaged? How are you supporting your staff and showing you care?

Before focusing on productivity, building resilience in your organization should be priority number one. When thinking about resilience, it’s important to understand the difference between personal resilience and organizational resilience.

Personal resilience is developing your own self-awareness and inner strength in a way that enables you to successfully adapt to change. It involves thoughts, behaviors and actions that promote an individual’s personal development. 

Organizational resilience, on the other hand, is creating a workplace culture of awareness that helps a team bounce back from adversity and change. Sometimes the change is expected and occurs internally either with a rebrand, merger, acquisition or other event. Other times we are unable to prepare for the change because it is happening outside of the company and causing an internal change as we have seen this year with the coronavirus pandemic and the antiracism movement. 

Here are three steps to create organizational resilience:

  1. Awareness of Self & Others

Self-awareness is the first step. It requires knowing who you are on a deep level. What drives you? What are your strengths and weaknesses? What are your thoughts on a daily basis? Are they bringing you closer or further away from your goals?

Awareness of self enables you to lead with purpose and authenticity. Knowing who you are not only allows you to connect with others in a meaningful way, but also steers your team in the right direction – the direction that will help your organization achieve goals faster.

Awareness of others helps you see what is driving the people on your team, which may be different from what is driving you but that doesn’t mean they are going in a different direction. It can also mean they are finding different ways to achieve the same goal and it’s important to know the difference so you can get them back on track when they wander away from the goal.

  1. Understanding of Self & Others

As a leader, empathy, compassion and emotional intelligence all play a pivotal role in understanding yourself and others. They are responsible for keeping your team inspired and engaged.

Empathy is putting yourself in someone else’s shoes. It’s respecting a person’s thoughts and feelings, and truly listening to what they have to say without judgement.

Compassion helps you communicate from a place of encouragement and empowerment. It requires being fully present and engaging with your employees on a personal level, not just a professional one. For example, if someone on your team just suffered a loss, ask how they’re feeling and if there is anything you can do to help. It’s also important for you to have compassion for yourself because your team is watching you and modeling your behavior. If you’re hard on yourself, they’re going to model that behavior. 

Emotional intelligence (EQ) allows you to evaluate and express emotions. This includes your emotions and the emotions of those around you. Understanding yourself is a core component of EQ, enabling you to communicate with your employees more effectively and build a culture of resilience in your workplace. 

  1. Motivation of Self & Others

In the midst of change and challenging circumstances, motivation is what will inspire your team to move forward. When people are motivated, they not only perform better, but they also become highly adaptable. The more you can motivate the people around you, the more you will optimize where your organization is heading.

As a leader, this requires asking the right questions: “What do you need from me/us to succeed?” Also, make sure to use positive, possibility-based language when problems arise. 

For instance, rather than saying “How could you let this happen?” you can say “What can we take away from this and how can we move forward?” The first is accusatory and counterproductive, and the second is encouraging and supportive.

By following these three steps, you will help your employees better adapt to adversity and build a culture of resilience. Start by looking within and once you develop a stronger sense of self, you’ll be able to better understand and support those around you.