How connected does your team feel? Team resilience at work…

Ever worked in a team where you feel that no matter what you do, your ‘face doesn’t fit’ or that you were just a number?   Contrast this with the times you have worked in your favourite teams where you felt you felt connected and that you mattered as a person.  How do these two situations make you feel?

Resilient teams feel a sense of connection with each other. In the sixth of our 7-day blog on what makes teams resilient, we unpack the importance of team connection as a key ingredient of the team resilience ‘mix’.


What does a ‘connected’ team look and feel like?

In exploring this element of team resilience, the quote below summarise the key elements of team connection:

“Giving connects two people, the giver and the receiver, and this connection gives birth to a new sense of belonging.” – Deepak Chopra

Team connection links to team self-care and very simply a resilient connected team will care for each other as people, acting co-operatively and supportively with each other.  When we feel we are a part of something and belong, this in itself builds resilience.


What can we do to build more connected teams?


  • 1.Help people feel that they belong in your team

Being welcoming and inclusive is key but how does this look like in the everyday life of your team?  This can range from something as simple as how people greet each other in work to the opportunities you have in your team to sharing time to chat informally and know more about each other as people.  What do we do in our team to make everyone feel included?  Thinking about everyone’s experience of team life and how they are made to feel part of it is key to belonging.


  • 2. Promote a sense of organisational belonging

Our team is our immediate world in work but how are team members connected to the wider organisation?  In many workplaces this can be done from sharing the same uniform, branding through to social events and other workplace programmes any team can connect to.   Ensuring team members have some form of connection to the wider work of the organisation helps a sense of belonging.


  • 3. Identify what mutual team support looks like in your team

How do we really help each other out in our team?  Really connected teams will easily spot when someone is drowning not waving and readily offer support without being asked.  Sample ways we do this, sometimes even without thinking, include:

  • Helping a colleague with other work when they have a deadline.
  • Debriefing in a safe space if someone has experienced a hard day or difficult incident.
  • Sharing knowledge or perspectives you know will help a colleague.
  • Advice on how to navigate work politics or systems.
  • Just being there as a listening ear for emotional support when the chips are down.

A note of caution here is important.  Is an ethos of mutual support shared collectively across the team?  If not checked, you may find that naturally accommodating team members will eventually tire if shared support is one-way only with some colleagues; reciprocity is essential for the connected team.


  • 4. Enable ‘confident vulnerability’

Sometimes we carry things too long and struggle because we see asking for help as a sign of our own perceived inadequacies or lack of competency.  We may also find ourselves in environments when showing any vulnerability could lead to judgement by others.  Or, we may find that feeling below par or not on top of things at work is due to something major happening in our personal lives outside work.

To establish a culture in your team where ‘there’s no such thing as a stupid question’ and where team members feel genuinely comfortable sharing appropriately times of vulnerability takes work and ‘living it’ as modelled by team leaders.

Starting a conversation in your team about areas where they feel aspects of inadequacy and might need help from other team members is a solid starting point.


  • 5. Appreciate that people have lives outside work

Work-life balance featured as a key element of resilience in team self-care in our fourth blog.  Things happen in our lives outside work beyond our control which could require flexibility in our team and work life.

A connected team from camaraderie will have some shared knowledge about their colleagues’ lives and demands outside work.  During tough personal times, connected teams will accommodate and help colleagues.  Teams also however need to set a time limit where they can review flexible support to accommodate the personal to balance team performance and accountability.

However, we all remember those times when colleagues helped us through choppy waters and it is in precisely those times when we feel we are valued and cared for, the bedrock of a connected and resilient team.


To learn more to help your team…

For additional information on how team resilience workshops, team resilience assessment and team coaching could work for your team, click here.



 Leading for Resilience Workbook, Kathryn McEwen, Working with Resilience

Build Your Team Capability – Team Resilience at Work…

 ‘Feedback is the breakfast of champions.’

– Ken Blanchard

What exactly do we mean by a team’s capability?

A team cannot be truly effective if doesn’t cultivate feedback loops and access to different support networks outside the team to extend their existing capability.  Both shape the capability dimension of team resilience.  This is an aspect of team resilience we all know but how well do we collectively do it in our own teams?


What practical ways can you build your team’s capability?


  • 1. Ask for and act on team feedback

Without some way of finding out how your team is operating and against everchanging environmenal factors, your team runs the risk of becoming out of touch.

Identify first your team’s key stakeholders.  Team clients are evidently stakeholders but who else does your team connect with who are key  in delivering your work?  In addition to the customers they directly serve, teams may have a wide variety of  relationships both within and outside the organisation inclusive of other teams/departments, suppliers, sectoral and other stakeholders.

Think also about what  you currently have in place to gather intelligence from key stakeholders.  What do you not know but would like to know in stakeholder feedback about the team’s performance?

There may also be other ways of assessing team performance within their market or sector using quantitative data or other relevant benchmarks for your team’s sector.

Seeking feedback is one thing but also consider how you work in your team to respond and act on it for it to be meaningful and helpful to both the team and their stakeholders.

  • 2. Build team capability through networks

In demanding financial times where the recruitment of additional team members is not always possible to meet the team’s needs, the team may need to lever additional guidance, support or resources from other networks and relationships.  Support networks and relationships can have a variety of purposes for the team.  Sample networks a team could connect to include:

–  Professional bodies relevant to the team’s roles and work.

– Partnerships or networks relevant to your area of work or your sector.

– Communities of  practice which are sources of professional or technical advice.

– Networking initiatives or industry events  for teams / professionals working in your field.

  • 3. Develop team member access to support and advice

Having a number of ways for you team to build their capability is vital to building team resilience in this area.   Even the best team leader cannot be be all things to all people and the sole source of support for the team .

Discuss and raise awareness within the team of different sources of support available to team members from both inside and outside the team.  This could include identifying such things as mentoring, training, coaching, debriefing support, technical and industry advice to support their access to wider networks.

  • 4. Take responsibility for building your own professional networks

Take time out in your team to discuss what knowledge, skill and support the team requires and work then on developing useful relationships with other individuals or organisations.

Sometimes, making small connections with different networks or sources of support can make a big difference for the team.  For example, when I worked as a CEO, informal coffee meetings with a fellow CEO I had met through a leadership network for our sector  was an invaluable connection offering ongoing knowledge and mutual support.

If leading a team, know where you can go to personally connect for support and encourage teams members to explore and build their support networks.


To learn more to help your team…

For additional information on how team resilience workshops, team resilience assessment and team coaching could work for your team, click here.

Source: Leading for Resilience Workbook, Kathryn McEwen, Working with Resilience

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