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A Team of Resilient Individuals doesn't automatically create a Resilient Team

There's a lot of talk (and thankfully work) going on about resilience and ensuring organisations are capable of enhancing and sustaining resilience in their employees. It's great that organisations are taking resilience and well being seriously but there's still a lot of work to do. In this newsletter, I'd like to explore the fact that you can build an individual's resilience but the minute you enter that individual into a team setting, this can potentially negatively affect the individual's resilience and this could impact negatively on their overall well being and performance.

I recently spoke at a DisruptHR event in Glasgow, Scotland, about this topic (see the full video at: Resilience Is Not a Muddy Tick-Box Exercise | Allan Mackintosh | DisruptHR Talks - DisruptHR ) and there was a general agreement from the meeting attendees that I spoke to, that not enough was being done around building resilience in teams and actually, not enough being done on team development in general. I'd like to give some tips as to how you can best build resilience in your team and ensure that this resilience both stays across the team and with each and every team member.

Culture: This is the core of ensuring you have resilient individuals and teams. Your organisational culture should be an inclusive, empowering and dynamic culture that embraces and enthuses all employees regardless of hierarchy. Employees should feel 'psychologically safe' in every team that they work in, and managers should go all out to ensure that the teams they lead are psychologically safe in that each and every team member has a voice - and is listened to.

Structure: By structure I mean that each and every team has fully worked on the basics of team performance ( by working through team development frameworks such as PARTNERS) and is focused on their purpose, have real clarity on the team (and individual) goals and the plans being implemented to achieve the goals. A robust and structured review process is essential.

Trust: It is absolutely vital that there is high trust between the manager and their team members, trust between each and every team member, and trust between the team and its key stakeholders. A good basis to start to build trust is to work together and create your team's charter, within which will be listed the behavioural and attitudinal agreements and expectations that each and every team member commits to. This should be formalised so that it is a written document which will serve you well as a framework for instant feedback - for both constructive and recognition feedback.

Learning: I mentioned the robust review process as part of the 'structure' section and ensuring you run effective review processes, then the teams will learn from what is going well for the team and also what is perhaps not working so well. This builds increased capabilities, confidence and resilience. Teams that learn together become more resilient as well as improving their overall performance. Make sure you build in time not only for review of performance to date, but for the team development plan and occasionally for the team charter.

Leadership: This will underpin everything above. Team managers should be effective team leaders and in order to do this they must fully understand what is entailed in effective team leadership and be competently trained in teams and team leadership. They should be competent in understanding team dynamics and team development and performance strategies and be able to put these into regular practice. They should be good coaches (both individual and team) and facilitators, as well as competent managers who can influence at all levels of the organisation. An incompetent manager can destroy a team and it wouldn't be the first time I've come across such managers, who despite there being a really good organisational culture, the culture in the team they (supposedly) lead is toxic. I have also seen the opposite, where the organisational culture is toxic, but at a local team level, the leadership from the manager has been superb, with a great team culture and the resultant performance. We need to get both cultures right!

Many organisations are now taking resilience and well being seriously and many are enabling their employees to not only undertake resilience assessments but also to have the support of contracted resilience coaches to help employees build their resilience. Organisations will have to wake up, though, to the realisation that once you put a resilient person in a team of people then that individual resilience could be at risk if the team culture and leadership is not what is should be. In this respect organisations do need to take teamwork seriously and not just make assumptions that their team managers are effective team leaders with a good understanding of team dynamics and team performance and development strategies. Unfortunately this is not often the case.

Get in touch if you need advice on teams or are looking for 'hands-on' development work with your teams or team managers. ++44(0)776 416 8989 or

There are a number of very cost-effective Team Manager developmental resources now available to support you in your quest to truly be that ‘Successful Team Manager.’ You can view and access these at:

TEAM-XL online Team Assessment – Allows the team to feedback on strengths and development areas and gets them discussing their development towards high performance. TEAM-XL | PARTNERS Team Dev (

The PARTNERS ‘Toolkit’ for Team Managers – A DIY Guide to getting your team performing.

The book, ‘Team Champion - Taking Teamwork Seriously” -

The Online PARTNERS Team Development Course – A healthy blend of video lectures and questions to get you thinking.

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