Measuring Resilience: Individuals Hold the Power to Define and Improve the Team

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As a coach, I hear from the management of businesses that individuals need to work on their resilience. “They are not resilient!” leadership will say. They say this because it seems individuals “become disheartened easily” when pursuing work or because they “do not rebound quickly” from losing a client or making an error.

Let’s look at the wording used by the leadership. What is meant by “disheartened” to the leader making that observation versus what it means to the person who is observed? What does “quickly” mean to the organization versus what it means to an individual who is part of the team? Who decides what it means?  

It is critical to define these words so that everyone involved has the same understanding. After all, it is the individuals on the team who have the power to improve themselves. The measure for the improvement should be focused on how the individual was performing previously compared to how that person is performing now.

Therefore, if a number of team members improve, the team improves its performance. It raises the bar for everyone.

When the leader refers to “quickly”, is there a standard that has been communicated to the employee? If not, there should be. Quickly could mean one day to management and one week or one month to the employee. How does a person show that they are “disheartened”? This is another case where the leader’s assumption may not be the truth for the employee.

Here are a few tips for leaders to use when understanding how their team members can improve performance:

  1. Take a baseline measure. To meet your business goals, what does the team need from each person? As the leader, you set the boundaries. That is your baseline. Then look at the team members, what is their current baseline? If we are talking about recovering “quickly” from a setback, your expectation may be two days and the individual has shown it takes them two weeks.
  2. Communicate your expectations and listen to feedback. Once you determine what you are seeking, make sure that your team understands the boundaries. Explain what you expect of them.
  3. Consider altering your expectation based on the abilities of the team members. Listening to your team and adjusting the boundary shows strong leadership. It also builds trust.
  4. Discuss how to achieve the results you are looking for when the boundary is adjusted. As the leader, you are still responsible for the team’s performance. Collaborate with them regarding how to achieve goals.
  5. Ask. Do not assume. Have the tough conversations and ask people what they are thinking, feeling, and needing. It opens doors to stronger relationships.

One last thought, talk with your team about resilience. What does it mean to them? When did they experience it or witness it? What do they need to be resilient?

Contact Mary Balistreri at to discuss these concepts in greater detail.

Published by Mary Balistreri

Mary Balistreri offers a variety of coaching and professional development services to individuals and organizations focused on harnessing strengths to develop more business. Mary’s approach is goal driven, focusing on measurable results and developing actionable plans to move past obstacles that hold individuals, teams, and organizations back from executing on the plan. Mary offers expertise in business development, team building, and leadership development coupled with strategies to improve conversational and emotional intelligence to support clients moving toward their goals and aspirations.

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