Building and Leading Resilient Teams: Module 1

Module 1: Raise morale in the workplace by creating a positive climate for people to work in.

When morale is low, performance suffers. When morale is high, performance can soar. Climate is about the shared perceptions and attitudes of teammates. Your team’s climate can change quickly, for better or worse, based on your actions and the actions of your teammates. You can raise your team’s morale by creating a positive climate for people to work in. The result is more flexibility, creativity, and openness to new ideas. Positive emotions help people cope with stress. Teams that work in a positive climate are better able to overcome adversity, and then adapt and grow together because of that adversity.

This module consists of two “at home” assignments (6 hours) that must be completed prior to the facilitated discussion (1-3 hours). Completing the preparatory assignments is essential for engaged participation in the facilitated discussion.

Assignment 1. Learn the following key terms and ideas. Knowing these key terms and ideas is essential to understanding the concepts that support each leader task in this module. (0.5 hours)

Key Terms and Ideas

Assignment 2. Reflect on your unique leader/follower experience with each of the leader tasks and concepts below. Consider ALL the reflection questions, prepare notes, and be ready to discuss during the facilitated discussion. The recommended reading is provided to help you gain a better understanding of the leader tasks and concepts. The reading will also prompt critical reflection on your leader/follower experience. (5.5 hours)

Note to Students and Instructors: The recommended reading for each leader task is updated routinely. Articles added in the last 30 days are marked (new). Instructors may assign additional reading or relevant videos at their discretion.

Leader Tasks and Concepts

1. Analyze team climate.

Climate is the shared perceptions that people have regarding the attitudes and emotions that characterize their team. Positive climates are characterized by positive attitudes and emotions. Emotions and attitudes, both positive and negative, can be contagious. Creating a positive climate raises morale.

Culture is the shared assumptions, values, and beliefs that govern how people behave across an organization. It’s possible to have a positive team climate inside of a not-so-good organizational culture. Bad team climate inside of a great organizational culture is also possible (and unfortunate).

Culture can only change slowly over time. However, climate can change quickly depending on the actions of team members and leaders.

In a positive climate, people are more flexible, creative, and open to new ideas. Working in a positive climate improves the team’s ability to solve problems and overcome challenges. Creating a positive climate is essential for building resilient teams.

Recommended Reading:

4 of the Most Important Positive Emotions and What They Do

The Benefits of Positive Emotions for Inhibiting Anger

Practice Emotional Inclusion at Work, Not Toxic Positivity

2. Earn Trust.

When people trust their leaders, they are more willing to give a 100% effort at work. Trust is hard to earn and easy to lose. Earning trust helps create a positive climate.

Leaders earn trust when they demonstrate competence and integrity. Competence is having the knowledge and skills to do something well. Integrity is the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles. Earning trust takes time.

Leaders earn trust when they are authentic and vulnerable. Authenticity is about being transparent with your thoughts, emotions, values, and beliefs. Vulnerability is being open to the risk of emotional exposure. Being authentic can make a person vulnerable. Being vulnerable is a strength that takes courage.

Recommended Reading:

Being Authentic Earns Trust

6 Ways to Build Workplace Trust

5 Fundamental Ways to Earn Leadership Credibility

Where Are the Trustworthy Leaders?

The 7 Habits of Truly Genuine People

How to Earn Trust as a Leader?

How Can Leaders Earn Trust?

3. Treat people with respect.

Leaders can treat people with respect by recognizing their dignity. Dignity is the inherent importance, value, and worth of a person. Treating people with respect helps create a positive climate.

Leaders can treat people with respect by embracing diversity. Diversity is the range of individual differences in social and ethnic backgrounds, genders, sexual orientations, etc.

Leaders can treat people with respect by being inclusive. Inclusion is consistently providing equal and fair access to opportunities and resources for people who might otherwise be excluded or marginalized. 

Leaders can treat people with respect by actively listening and valuing their opinions. Active listening is seeking to understand meaning and intent without preemptively judging. Valuing opinions doesn’t necessarily mean agreeing with those opinions.

Recommended Reading:

Respect Your Employees

Respect: Yearned for, But Missed in Organizations

The Fight for Fairness in the Workplace

The Wisdom of Emotions At Work

4. Enforce accountability.

Accountability is the obligation and willingness to accept responsibility for one’s actions. When enforcing accountability, leaders should be firm, fair, and consistent. Enforcing accountability helps create a positive climate.

Leaders should hold themselves accountable to the same or higher standards they expect of others. Standards are the expectations, norms, and rules that are generally accepted or specifically required.

Enforcing accountability usually isn’t about punishments. In most cases, it means ensuring that people are learning from their mistakes. Leaders need to invest the time required to help people learn from their mistakes.

Recommended Reading:

Why Effective Leaders Must Master Accountability

The Difference Between Shame and Accountability

Accountability – What Dysfunctional Teams Are Missing

The Right Way to Hold People Accountable

5. Encourage people to have fun.

Having some fun at work is possible no matter how serious the job is. Hard work and fun are not mutually exclusive. Encouraging people to have fun helps creates a positive climate.

Having fun at work helps people relax and take a mental break from challenges. Humor and laughter can help relieve anxiety and stress. However, leaders must ensure that people are not having fun at other’s expense. Humor must be in good taste and acceptable to all.

Recommended Reading:

Why Having Fun at Work Matters

Workplace Humor Has Some Unexpected Benefits

Reduce Workplace Stress Through Fun Activities

6. Demonstrate character.

Character is the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual. A leader’s character will make or break their reputation. Demonstrating moral courage, honesty, humility, and empathy helps create a positive climate.

Moral Courage is acting for moral reasons despite the risk of adverse reactions.

Honesty is being free of deceit and showing genuine principles, intentions, and actions.

Humility is having a modest opinion or assessment of one’s importance.

Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.

While there are many important character traits for leaders, the traits of moral courage, honesty, humility, and empathy are especially important for building and leading resilient teams.

Recommended Reading:

Demonstrate Character with Moral Courage and Honesty

Demonstrate Character with Empathy and Humility

The Struggle with Moral Courage in Challenging Moments

Lies in the Workplace

The Paradoxical Power of Humility

Is Empathy Redundant for Successful Leadership?

7. Keep the team informed.

Keeping people informed provides transparency and helps overcome resistance to change. Transparency is open, honest, and accessible communication. People appreciate getting important news, good or bad, in a timely manner. Keeping people informed helps create a positive climate.

Knowledge is power. Not having information is stressful. Leaders should ask themselves, what do I know, who needs to know it, and have I told them? Keeping people informed includes providing opportunities for two-way communication.

Recommended Reading:

You have Information. How do you Responsibly Share It?

Talking Points: How To Communicate the Way You Need To

Improve Your Trust Building Odds

Facilitated discussion. Be prepared to discuss your experience with each of the leader tasks and concepts above. The facilitated discussion is the key to successful learning because it ensures you have a thorough understanding of applicable factual (what), conceptual (why), and procedural (how) knowledge relevant to each leader task.

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