Finding Opportunities For Your Team To Build Resiliency

Written by on August 25, 2014

I once worked with an engineer who possessed a remarkable outlook to challenges. I thoroughly enjoyed working with him, yet many people found him to be aloof and uninterested in people. It was his positive attitude about everything that made him so inspiring to me. It wasn’t that he thought everything was great. In fact, we worked in an environment that required a lot of change and conflicts and daily challenges were abundant. Yet he always found a way to see opportunity in every circumstance.

No matter what situation you find yourself in, you’re always living with a choice. So what choice are you going to make? One of the first choices within your grasp is how you react. Are you going to choose stress and negativity, or are you going to find the opportunity in your circumstance?

Understanding that there IS indeed a choice is critical to helping teams develop resiliency.

Positivity Cascades From Leaders To Their Teams

Walking the talk is essential for leaders who want to build resiliency within their team. The leader sets the tone for the organization. Leaders who micromanage or constantly act in a crisis-driven manner drain the energy and resources of an organization. A leader who looks for opportunities and takes things in stride sets a positive example to others. That’s why it’s so important to take time to celebrate and provide positive feedback – although it’s easy to forget these things when we’re stressed out.

Learning From Failure Is Another Cornerstone Of Team Resiliency

We don’t like to talk about failure. But everybody makes mistakes; everybody screws up once in a while. So how do you take moments that feel like failure and deconstruct and grow from them as learning opportunities? Are you able to take what could be a very negative situation and make it into a positive learning experience? Consider what you could do to cultivate this skill.

It All Comes Down To Making Choices

We all need reminders from time to time but everything we do is a choice.

Over the past year I’ve become involved with the Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC) as part of the Board of Directors. The Paralympic Games are linked to the Olympic celebrations every two years and athletes must meet strict qualifying standards in order to compete. I love working with this group of people, especially the athletes. They’re all elite athletes who have made remarkable choices in spite of challenges. The first Paralympic Games were held in Rome, Italy, in 1960 and involved 400 athletes from 23 countries. Originally, only wheelchair athletes were invited to compete. Since that time, the Paralympic Games have grown dramatically. Today’s Paralympic participants include people with visual impairments, physical disabilities, cerebral palsy, spinal cord injuries, and amputee athletes.

Working with these remarkable individuals reminds me how choices play a role in our lives. When I look at their individual situation and speak with one of them, I’m reminded of how many choices this person made throughout their life that led them to their current circumstances. Each athlete has made a lot of challenging decisions that have guided him or her to that elite status.

What really strikes me is how these young athletes display the traits of great leadership. They’re astounding human beings – in the way that they approach opportunities, how they speak, and how they practice incredible control over their lives.

Seeing every challenge as an opportunity is the key to building resiliency. It’s also a much more enjoyable way to live and work!