Building Resilience Suntiva

Five Practices for Building Resilience — for You and Your Team

Suntiva LLC Leadership Development and Coaching, Workforce and Organizational Development


Resiliency is the ability to recover from setbacks, adapt well to change and keep going in the face of adversity.[1] It’s an essential component of dynamic leadership and critical for a team’s well-being, performance and burnout prevention. The more challenging the environment, the more crucial it is — and our current work/life environment is more challenging than ever before.

In addition to continuous organizational change, increased demands with fewer resources, and the impact of current societal issues, all the previous constructs separating work and home life have collapsed. Time, space and relationship boundaries have become blurred. Managing a remote team is now a given, even for those who never signed up for it. Challenge has replaced normalcy as the status quo. And, the strength of our resiliency is, quite literally, the image that greets us in the mirror. You’re not alone if you feel the image could use some bolstering.

Resiliency is a continuous journey, not a destination.

No formula can be universally applied to produce resilience within every individual, but here are five practices that will help. While these practices function best in tandem, as they are all interconnected, putting even just one or two of these into practice will put you in the right direction on the road toward resiliency. You may already be employing some of them to some degree, but in the face of all that’s happening, it’s time to double-down.

  1. Communicate with Purpose – Investing in building strong, positive relationships with others can provide the needed support and acceptance for building the resilience to navigate challenging times. Especially in a virtual work environment, practicing active listening and open, honest communication is critical because you have to take time to do it and deliberately work at it. If you nurture relationships purposefully through effective communication, your support network will be there when you need to draw upon it.

Good listening comes down to doing three things: Not talking when others are speaking; letting others know you’re listening through facial expressions and verbal sounds (“Mmm-hmm”); and being able to repeat what others have said, practically word-for-word.

Harvard Business Review, What Great Listeners Actually Do

  1. Commit to Learning – Research shows that people who embrace learning from their actions make better leaders. Learning promotes perspective-taking, or understanding a situation or concept from an alternate point of view. These benefits are crucial in developing a leader’s resiliency, specifically the adaptability and agility in facing adversity. A leader, growing in resilience, learns to consistently review previous successes to see what skills and strategies can be applied to new problems. You may find that it helps to talk through past successes and challenges with a supportive but unbiased person to help you identify both positive and negative behavioral patterns. A good question to ask yourself is, what behaviors do you most want others to experience in their interactions with you? 
  1. Pursue Simplicity – Great leaders constantly strive to strip away complexity and noise to provide simple, clear ideas, solutions and direction. Simplifying can help build resilience because it allows you to focus on what’s most important, isolate problems at their root, and recover more quickly from challenges. Ask yourself what can be stripped away and removed to leave only what is essential. Each person may have their own process for pursuing simplicity — meditation, doodling, sitting still, going for a walk — anything that allows your conscious mind to rest so your subconscious can go to work on a solution.
  2. Get Moving – Physical activity also keeps the body and mind healthy and promotes mental and emotional resilience. Working from home shortens the natural movement that comes with commuting and in-office work. The mental and emotional stress that many are experiencing makes daily exercise even more important. Movement can relieve anxiety, depression and stress, and make you better equipped to deal with challenges as they arise. Including a family member or friend in your activity can keep you motivated and add the benefits of social connectedness.

Managers and supervisors who feel grateful and remember to convey the same have a stronger group cohesiveness and better productivity.

  1. Express Gratitude – Promoting a positive future outlook is a core attribute of developing our ability to move forward in the face of adversity. How we construct our future outlook is directly tied to our gratitude in the present. Expressing gratitude connects us with what we believe is important and, when shown to others, contributes to building their positive future outlooks. Gratitude recognizes the value, dignity and goodness in ourselves and others. Opportunities to build resilience through expressions of gratitude present themselves throughout each day. The key is authenticity and a willingness to acknowledge things, such as thanking a colleague for help on a project, applauding team collaborations, celebrating major accomplishments and recognizing individuals on your team when speaking with your supervisor or other organizational leaders.

Support and solutions need to be custom tailored.

Emphasizing the five practices personally and in relation to others on a daily basis is essential for both individual and team resilience. Suntiva understands the challenges faced in virtually managing others and maintaining resiliency in the midst of unknown and constant change. We offer one-on-one coaching to help build on these five principle cornerstones every leader needs to observe, reflect on and address within themselves to thrive within these challenging times. We can also help support the same cornerstones teams need to achieve their best. We tailor training to advance learning and enhance the most critical skills necessary to deepen understanding of one another, create agreements, develop precise goals and propel performance. For more information on how we can help you and your team become well-practiced at the five practices, contact us today.

Written by Andy Gingrich

[1] Harvard Business Review, “What Resilience Means, and Why It Matters,” by Andrea Owens, January 05, 2015.

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