Your team will likely deal with obstacles, boundaries, and challenges along with their weekly responsibilities at work, and their roles will continue to demand adaptability and versatility. How your team embraces change and navigates complexity will determine your success, and it’s your job as a leader to coach your team to be resilient, so that your company can emerge stronger than ever before.
Choose to adapt
W. Edwards Deming is quoted saying, “It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory.” Choosing to adapt is at the heart of Business Agility. We know that a clear, shared vision enables teams to make quick decisions that enable adaptability. While you may have spent years developing and perfecting your vision, and have adhered your values and efforts to that exact vision since day one, that doesn’t mean that you can’t adapt your vision to meet the current needs of your company. Depending on the type of challenge your company is experiencing and the magnitude of the obstacle, revisiting your vision can be a beneficial step to ensure that your team heads in the right direction. If you choose to alter your vision to better align with the times or match your new goals, communication is an indisputable factor in the process. Leaders must relay the vision and goals to their team in a clear and compelling way, and guide them so that they continue to see the connection between their individual role and the company’s vision. Once teams are clear on this and buy into it, they will jump on board and be a part of the change.
Give them autonomy
Although first instinct might tell you otherwise, it’s imperative that your team feels empowered to make a difference on their own. When your company or team experiences obstacles, it can be natural to want to take back control, take employees under your wing, or increase your oversight. On the heels of a challenge, the last thing that your team wants to experience is a decrease in responsibilities or less control over their role. For your team to successfully recover, it’s essential to show them that you’re confident in their abilities to pick up the pieces and do better. Coaching your team doesn’t mean holding their hands. As leaders, it is our job to give our team room to improve, change, and grow. No matter how large or small the obstacle is, autonomy is a key element that your coaching should continue to promote. With autonomy, your team will be able to find their wings again, discover solutions on their own, and contribute in a meaningful way that would’ve only happened with a little bit of freedom to explore. Don’t focus on what to take away; focus on what you can give your team to feel the courage to move on.
Create an organization based on continuous learning. If a challenging circumstance results in failure, consider it an opportunity to learn, rather than a moment of defeat. When you instill this perspective in your team members, it allows them to flourish in the face of failure, instead of being too fearful to experiment. Even when the odds are against you, understanding that failure is not inherently bad, will give your company a better chance to forge ahead, no matter what comes into your path. While applauding a job well done is beneficial, recognizing creativity and effort can go a long way when it comes to building the kind of culture that appreciates failure. When your team possesses this experimental mindset regarding failure, you will find that they are more resilient and stronger when things aren’t going as planned. Your job as a leader then becomes to coach them to think differently about failure. It will start with you and how you react to and handle failure, as they are looking to you as a model.
Know the strengths of your team
You hire your employees for their creativity and ideas; they possess certain strengths that benefit the company and they contribute to your team as a whole. When it comes to coaching your team through complex encounters, knowing the strengths of every individual is crucial. First, it gives you clues regarding how to coach them, based on what they respond to and what they need. It also tells you where to start and who to ask. When your team has encountered a challenge or an obstacle that sets your project back, it’s time to rally the troops and find a solution. When you know the strengths of your team, it will be easier to jump up, dust off your knees, and get to work on a plan B. Create a culture where your teams suggest ideas, team members lean into their strengths, and everyone shares knowledge in order to further the mission of the company. Experiencing a setback as a team is about pooling together your resources and people. When you are coaching your team, it’s essential that you communicate with them about how the company needs their strengths and that it’s an all-hands-on-deck kind of movement.
There will be disappointments and there will be challenging times, but when you have a team who can bounce back, you have a better chance at survival. Henry Ward Beecher said that “one’s best success comes after their greatest disappointments.” If you can coach your team to look toward the next success, instead of dwell on the disappointment, you will find that your team can go distances farther than you ever imagined.