How teamwork helps you build resilience in your professional life

No man is an island, entire of itself. Every man is a piece of the continent

No man is an island, entire of itself. Every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main … – John Donne

When you talk about resiliency in the workplace, many people initially believe what we’re referring to is overcoming huge challenges on your own. But that’s not entirely accurate. The truth is that everyone faces plenty of challenges on a daily basis, many of which require us to draw on our reserves of resilience.

One of the most reliable reserves we can – and should – depend on, is with our coworkers and teammates.

In fact, the level of interpersonal and intra-organizational skills in your workplace becomes the make it or break it point for your result-driven endeavors. Reaching out and depending on others is a pivotal part of nurturing a team that overcomes its challenges. The question is: how can we call upon others to help us meet the challenges that we face?

Resilience is about knowing when to ask for help

There is no shame in asking for help. We all need help now and again, and many of us function better when we collaborate with others.

An important part of building resilience in the workplace is:

  • Knowing when and how to ask others for help
  • Reaching out to people whom we have relationships with
  • Resolving the problems with support

As adults we struggle with the concept of “asking for help.” But it’s important to realize that each person has three selves:

  1. Child
  2. Parent
  3. Adult

At any given instance, we have the power to choose who responds to a challenge. For example, let’s say that your boss looks at a project you’ve completed and says, “It’s not good enough. You have to make it better.” (This is likely the boss’s parent-self talking, by the way).

You now have three choices on who responds. Whom you choose will determine how you respond. Let’s take a look:

  • Your child self – The natural response would be to say, “This isn’t my fault. I had nothing to do with it. Don’t tell me a change is needed. It’s got nothing to do with me.”
  • Your parent self – The natural response of a parent will be slightly indignant, such as, “It is terrible, isn’t it? Tsk, tsk. It’s the computer, you know. Just can’t handle the job.”
  • Your adult self – The adult self is the most effective version of you for this challenge. Your adult self will respond with, “You’re right. I see the issue. What can I do to help make this right?”

Each version of your self will conjure specific responses by others in your group. The child response will likely lead to more parental criticism by your boss or colleagues. Shouting may occur as the complainant (your boss) gets frustrated that you don’t seem to understand that all he wants is to get something done.

The parent response will likely not be very helpful in getting something done to move the issue along. In the best possible scenario, you (and your parent self) will find yourself agreeing with your boss or colleagues that yes, all of this is very awful, and something should be done. That cordial conversation could go on for hours or days, without any steps being taken toward a solution to the problem.

The adult response will help to move the complainant (your boss, colleague, etc.) into his or her own adult self. When two adults are a part of overcoming a problem, solutions usually come at a fast and efficient clip.

The goal of resiliency in the workplace

As a motivational speaker and professional development leader who works with teams and organizations throughout Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States, I spend a considerable amount of time talking about the importance of resiliency within organizations.

The goal of resiliency is to overcome challenges. If your team is resilient, it won’t fear obstacles, and won’t back down from problematic situations. Bumps in the road will equate to opportunities to shine.

But no one individual can take on this type of resilient behavior alone. Organization-wide resiliency is the key to establishing a formula for success. Teamwork and effective communication will help each individual member of your team to feel confident with his or her place in the greater landscape of your office.

Learn more about the importance of resiliency in your organization by contacting us today.

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