October 02, 2020

With the novel coronavirus pandemic in the six-month mark, most companies have moved past the initial urgency and immediacy of the crisis into a place where longer-term planning and sustainable crisis management is now a priority.

You’ve set up the video calls. You’ve reconfigured facilities. You’ve done the tech legwork required to accommodate what is in many cases a largely work-at-home environment.

One critical issue that often goes unappreciated and unaddressed in a crisis, however, is the importance of safeguarding the mental and physical health and wellbeing of any company’s most vital asset: it’s people. The challenges of a disruptive crisis like the current pandemic can take a punishing toll on your team. Employees are likely facing increased isolation and stress, as well as the difficulties that come with processing and navigating not only personal challenges, but those of colleagues and coworkers. Negative thoughts and emotions deplete are physical and psychological resources making it tough to function in any kind of normal way, and sapping the creativity, productivity and collaborative energy that so many companies rely on.

While some organizations have worked to provide resilience training for individuals, fully leveraging the talents and strengths of employees means developing effective strategies to build collective resilience.

Pinkerton has developed a proprietary program specifically designed to provide team resilience training in conjunction with crisis management skills. The result is a way to help teams become stronger, more connected, more resilient, and, ultimately more productive. Developed in consultation with experts in Applied Positive Psychology and Psychological Capital, and with input from corporate trainers with an established track record of designing and implementing wellbeing programs across diverse industries and cultures, Pinkerton Team Resilience training is precisely the program required to help companies navigate this or any other crisis.

Collective resilience

What does collective resilience look like?

Collective resilience blends individual skill development in areas like emotional regulation and coping strategies with collective and team-focused elements designed to heighten a team’s ability to recognize and leverage each other’s strengths, and to foster a more connected, cohesive and resilient team.

The Pinkerton program, developed in collaboration with Jana Dawson, an MS in Applied Positive Psychology, includes the following elements:

Focusing on strengths

When organizations adopt a strengths narrative, they are projecting an image of being resourceful and resilient. This creates a sense of collective efficacy. Choosing to focus on core strengths—and weaving those narratives into the stories you tell each other and your clients and professional partners—builds confidence, energizing and animating the best parts of your organization.

Leadership development

When organizations adopt a strengths narrative, they are projecting an image of being resourceful and resilient. This creates a sense of collective efficacy. Choosing to focus on core strengths—and weaving those narratives into the stories you tell each other and your clients and professional partners—builds confidence, energizing and animating the best parts of your organization.

Building trust and communication

In times of adversity, lack of transparency, withholding of information and inconsistent behaviors foster a culture of uncertainty and even mistrust. Authenticity and transparency are key, and establishing open lines of communication and spaces where team members feel comfortable sharing what they do and do not know is a prerequisite for improvement. As stronger relationships and connections improve trust and communication improves, team members begin to enhance their overall awareness and understanding of team dynamics.

Finding collective meaning

Part of building team resilience is investing time in developing a shared vision, helping your team envision what success looks like, and empowering them with the tools that will help make that possible. This requires inclusivity and engagement, and will enable team members to begin looking at things from a new perspective: instead of challenges, they will see opportunities to get stronger together.

Stronger together

Failing to cultivate team resilience can have lasting adverse consequences both for individual and team performance. Triggers that might not even be obvious can diminish energy and resources. Creativity and innovation are in short supply, and hyper-alertness and anxiety make it more difficult to access the parts of the brain that spark great work.

While avoiding burnout by monitoring the physical and emotional wellbeing of employees is valuable, leaders can sometimes make incorrect assumptions about how their team is coping. And when communication styles are not compatible, self-censorship limits a team’s ability to get better.

Building team resilience is about creating spaces and systems that address those problems. It’s about connecting individual support to team impact, building trust and building relationships, and promoting a more optimistic, energized and proactive approach to life and work. It’s about creating a unified organizational mindset focused on growth and positivity: seeking out new pathways and opportunities.

Resilience is a skill. And like all skills, it can be built up. Pinkerton’s program applies these principles at the team level, creating strong organizational building blocks. The result is a coordinated, strategic and mutually supportive team with an enhanced ability to successfully navigate stressful circumstances, which ultimately reduces and mitigates key risk factors. It is clear, team resilience has a measurable and meaningful impact on employee mental and physical health, organizational efficiency and productivity, and, ultimately, the bottom line.

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