20 April 2022
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15 March 2022
What can I do to help my colleague who is going through a difficult situation? How can I activate my team’s resilience in this time of great uncertainty?
It’s not always easy to know what to say and do to support a person or group experiencing a rough patch? That’s where resilience comes in. Resilience is the ability to continue to grow and progress normally after experiencing a difficult event. But how do you help your team develop this resilience and how do you support them during difficult times?
Here you will find 5 levers to lean on to help you stay ahead throughout the fight.
The most important skill to engage when there is turmoil in your team or if a colleague reports a difficulty is undoubtedly empathy. Be sure to take a brief inventory of the context in which the shock is experienced. Some people may already be in a precarious state while others are on stronger footing to deal with the event.
First, listen. It is important to be as passive as possible and to encourage the other person to express their emotions freely. Avoid phrases such as “you’ll get through this” or “time will sort things out”, which can be hurtful or reductive for the person who is in turmoil.
It is also a time to be humble. If you are overwhelmed by the magnitude of the situation or if you feel that specialized support is needed, do not hesitate to refer the person or group to a professional resource. This is not the time to play hero!
Then it’s time to find solutions together and identify the resources to achieve them. To do this, you can rely on the various tutors of resilience. These are the elements upon which one can rely to recover from a shock. Think of the person’s relational resources such as colleagues, friends, or family. You can also look at company employee assistance programs, community organizations, or support groups. These can be lifesavers on many occasions. When you take the time to list them, you are much better equipped than you might think!
Create regular communication channels with the employee or safe spaces where your team members can exchange with you or each other. Here, regularity is important to foster trust and a sense of belonging among the people involved and thus, the resilience of your team!
Knowing how to adopt the right tone is also important to be able to inject a little levity or even humor when the moment lends itself to it. There is nothing like being able to laugh at yourself and show your humanity to build trust!
You can direct someone to positive things that will make them feel good, such as suggesting an activity, and also celebrate small (or large) victories with them, such as noticing and acknowledging a task well done or a day that went well. On the other hand, especially when there is already a relationship of trust, we can suggest avoiding harmful behaviour or elements that could disrupt a fragile balance.
In difficult times, it is essential to adjust the level of expectation of your team’s work performance. Some people will want to throw themselves into work to stay busy and not sink. For others, it will be important to have the latitude to have time to recuperate or to help combine their personal and professional lives. Listening carefully and being aware of the individual’s life context will greatly help you in this regard. Stay open and listen to the solutions proposed by the person or the team. Little gems of ideas can be found there!
Finally, you can plant seeds of hope at the right time by offering a glimpse of better days. Encourage the person to see their strengths that will help them see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Resilience is a muscle that can be trained and it is undeniably a skill that makes us a better leader, colleague, friend and parent. The good news is that it is a skill that can be developed.
But don’t wait until the last minute to get started. You forget 75% of a training session after 6 days. So, instead of relying on training, go for learning! Learning goes beyond the notion of training. When you are in a learning mindset, you don’t just memorize; you experiment, develop new skills, and apply them.
Also, if you encourage your entire team to develop their resilience on an ongoing basis, they will be more likely to activate it when a hard blow arrives! Prevention is better than cure. The more you work on resilience, the better you become and the better you will be at activating your resilience!
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