Train Your Team to Be More Resilient with These 5 Tactics

As a leader, you play an integral role in helping your teams cultivate and develop resilience. In this post, we highlight 5 key ways to build resilience in your team.

October 22, 2022
Gabriella Alziari

The last few years have tested teams worldwide. Between COVID, unstable market conditions, and the changing nature of work, resilience has become one of the most important traits to cultivate in our teams.

Resilience is the ability to adjust our approach when faced with difficult or unforeseen circumstances. Teams with high resilience are more productive and have higher engagement, retention, and commitment. They’re also better equipped to navigate changing conditions, whether internal (like a product pivot) or external (like an economic downfall).

As a leader, you play an integral role in helping your teams cultivate and develop resilience. In this post, we highlight 5 key ways to build resilience in your team.

1. Assign stretch opportunities to your team members.

Identify a few “stretch opportunities” to help your team members step out of their comfort zone. These opportunities should challenge them without being overly taxing or stressful. Think of this as a way to nudge your team towards continual growth.

For example, if one of your team members has been preparing metrics for a weekly report, ask them to share the results in a meeting with leadership or their team members for increased visibility. This would develop their confidence and public speaking skills, while also helping them focus on a subject they’re familiar with. In this way, the opportunity presents a new challenge without causing excess unnecessary stress.

Why this works

Resilience relies on our ability to react to changing conditions. Stretch opportunities are a great way to build your team’s ability to “lean in” to areas of growth — even if it’s not always comfortable to do so. This will help your team manage larger challenges in the future — they’ll be able to respond more proactively and adeptly.

2. Help your team “break down” problems.

When faced with problems, it’s natural for people to feel overwhelmed. If left unchecked, this can lead to other negative emotions, such as stress and anxiety. Over time, burnout and high turnover can result. To learn more about this, check out How To Spot Burnout In Your Team - And 9 Ways To Take Action.

As a leader, it’s important to take a proactive stance by helping your team members break down problems into smaller focus areas. This helps your team feel less overwhelmed and identify clear action items to focus on.

For example, let’s say that your team missed their quarterly sales target. Instead of reprimanding them (which would cause even more stress), help them see this as a learning opportunity.

You can host a meeting to identify what actions were taken, what was missed (if anything), how they can change the situation, and what specific things they can try to improve next quarter.

This tactic is often used by the Navy SEALS. When faced with a daunting situation, such as having to run 15 miles at once, they focus on one mile at a time to get through it.

Why this works

Resilient people focus on specific problems rather than feeling completely overwhelmed and helpless. This method reduces feelings of stress and anxiety, enabling individuals to focus on one small action item at a time.

This strategy can also help your team to achieve more milestones. While the overarching problem remains the same, focusing on small milestones allows them to achieve set goals, and increases motivation.

3. Encourage your team to stay present and cultivate flow.

It’s easy to get pulled between various tasks. Between emails, text messages and calls, most people are rarely living in the present moment. This creates psychological strain — and we often end up ruminating on things that don’t require our current attention. Research shows that the majority of things we worry about never even happen!

Help your team stay present by encouraging them to get into a “flow state” when they’re working. To facilitate this, urge them to try the Pomodoro technique, which helps maximize focus in short blocks of time.

You can also ask your team to minimize distractions, such as checking their phone or multi-tasking, while doing focused work. This way, they’ll be able to cultivate flow more easily.

Lastly, try implementing a 5-minute group meditation to improve creativity and enhance focus.

Why this works

True resilience requires the ability to use our emotional and mental reserves towards the present moment. In unexpected circumstances, it’s unhelpful to think about the past or future — this type of distraction can potentially be damaging. For example, you wouldn’t want an ER Doctor who wasn’t fully focused.

Practices such as meditation and getting into a “flow” state can help your team cultivate a deeper level of focus — so when difficult things arise, they can use all of their emotional and mental reserves to tackle them.

Additionally, by learning to draw themselves back to the present moment, your team members will become more capable at handling difficult emotions as they arise versus getting overwhelmed by everything at once.

4. Ask your team to proactively schedule breaks and vacations.

A big part of being resilient requires prioritizing our mental health and recovery. This includes having the ability to take care of ourselves before unforeseen events arise.

Ask your team members to proactively schedule breaks and vacation days for themselves. They can choose to take mini-breaks during their work day, longer blocks of vacation time, or a combination of both. For best results, proactively book your time off in advance and openly talk about it in meetings and 1:1s. This “role modeling” will help your team feel safe to do the same.

Why this works

Resilience requires being fully “on” during challenging circumstances. However, it doesn’t mean working all the time! In fact, being resilient requires re-charging and protecting our mental and emotional energy.

When you encourage your team to “switch off”, this helps them recharge their batteries and have the energy to perform highly under stress. Over time, encouraging rest will also help your team enhance focus, avoid burnout, and boost productivity.

5. Focus on community and encourage collaboration.

Resilience requires using all of our resources to navigate tough circumstances. Particularly in difficult situations, we want our teams to combine their collective knowledge. In doing so, we essentially pool together our resources and have more endurance to rely on.

Encourage your team to work together regularly by helping individuals identify opportunities for collaboration and knowledge-sharing. In 1:1s and group meetings, specifically ask your team members who they’re getting support from, and how they can use each other to collaborate on current tasks.

You can use unifying messages like “We’re in this together” or “Please work together to tackle this” to drive this point home. Your language holds power, so use it to encourage your team to tackle challenges as a unit.

Also, make a concerted effort to encourage high-quality connections (genuine, meaningful connections between two people) — such as through using Zoom break out rooms and providing prompts to help your team get to know each other more deeply. These connections are proven to build resilience and authentic bonding.

Why this works

When we pool together our resources, we’re better able to address problems strategically. Humans have operated this way for centuries. Be it in tribes, armies, or community gatherings, we are predisposed to come together and collectively tackle problems.

This also helps to strengthen your team’s emotional endurance (our ability to adjust to difficult or unforeseen circumstances). Encouraging collaborative work will make your team feel like they have a support network to rely on — especially during tough times. This not only builds community, but also “charges” your team’s mental and emotional reserves. Over time, this can reduce emotional fatigue and improves your team’s ability to navigate unforeseen circumstances with ease.


Resilience has become an increasingly important trait to cultivate in our teams. Luckily, as a leader, you have the opportunity to intentionally “train” resilience in your team members. To do so, use these 5 key tactics to build resilience on a regular basis:

  1. Assign stretch opportunities to your team members.
  2. Help your team “break down” problems.
  3. Encourage your team to stay present and cultivate flow.
  4. Ask your team to proactively schedule breaks and vacations.
  5. Focus on community and encourage collaboration.

These tactics will help enhance your team’s ability to navigate tumultuous situations and maintain clarity in even the most difficult times.

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