Building Resilient Teams

group of co-workers with hands together

Challenges are inevitable. Resilience is a quality that allows you and your teams to recover from challenges and come back stronger. Resilience is not letting failure or challenges overcome you. Resilience is not a trait we have or don’t have. Resilience involves thoughts, behaviors, and actions that can be learned and developed by anyone at any stage in life. 

Why do we need resilient teams? 

“Teams with resilience have a deeply held sense of purpose and understand the connections between their work and the highest-level strategies of the organization. Resilient teams have developed the capability to recognize development and growth in challenges,” says Wisconsin School of Business Center for Professional & Executive Development (CPED) Retail Executive in Residence Kathleen Cronin.

“Resilience in a team requires individuals on that team to hold a positive perspective of the team and confidence in the team’s strengths and abilities.” 

Kathleen Cronin, CPED Retail Executive in Residence

5 Characteristics of High-performing Resilient Teams 

  1. Purpose – resilient teams understand the connections between their work and the highest level strategies of the organization.  
  1. Perseverance – resilient teams hold a positive perspective of the team and confidence in the team’s strengths and abilities.  
  1. Self-reliance – resilient teams have developed the ability to improvise together and with other partners.  
  1. Balance – resilient teams have a clear view of circumstances and goals and focus on reality.  
  1. Trust – resilient teams have trust amongst members and collectively have the capacity to productively discuss issues with professionalism and composure.  

5 Traits of Resilient Leaders  

  1. Purpose – have a deeply held sense of purpose and have developed the capability to find meaning and growth in challenges.  
  1. Perseverance – effective communicators and problem-solvers who work with persistence to reach goals despite difficulties and obstacles.  
  1. Self-reliance – hold a positive view of themselves and have confidence in their strengths, capabilities, and judgement.  
  1. Balance – can identify what aspects of any situation are within their control and make realistic plans and take steps to carry them out in the midst of a challenge.  
  1. Self-awareness – have developed the capacity to manage strong feelings and impulses with composure.  

“A resilient team has built trust across its ranks. Its diversity, cross-functionality, multigenerational, and geographic decentralization are its key strengths.”

Kathleen Cronin, CPED Retail Executive in Residence

8 Steps to Build Resilience in Teams  

  1. Initiate dialogue to create a safe environment for conversation.  
  1. Take the resilience assessment.  
  1. Create specific and time-based change management plans that support clarity, alignment, organizational perspective, and progress against goals.  
  1. Identify specific goals/measures for building resilience in change efforts.   
  1. Prepare stakeholders for on-going and dynamic change through open discussion.  
  1. Leverage 1:1 connections to ask questions, inspire, and focus development on building resilience, and actively engage.  
  1. Work with stakeholders to continuously align understanding.  
  1. Assess progress, continuously ask questions, and recognize/reward effort and progress.  

Take your multigenerational leadership to the next level by improving employee motivation, engagement, and team success. A Retail Leader’s Guide to Managing a Multigenerational Workforce includes worksheets, sample questions, industry stories, and expert advice to help you increase individual and organizational success.   

Download the Guide