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Building and Leading Resilient Teams: Module 3


Module 3: Improve motivation and commitment by providing purpose in the workplace.

When people have a sense of purpose for the work that they do, they are more motivated and committed. You can provide purpose in the workplace by challenging people to be their best. Most people are looking to grow personally and professionally. You should challenge each person on your team to learn new skills. You should challenge the team to learn new collective skills together. You can also provide purpose by helping your team understand how their work supports the organization’s mission. When people have a sense of purpose at work, they 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 individual purpose.

Purpose is the desire and determination that drives a person to achieve a satisfying and meaningful future. Most people want a better future for themselves and their families. Work is typically the means to that end. Providing purpose in the workplace is about enabling the desire and determination of each person to reach their full potential. Providing purpose improves motivation and commitment.

Leaders can provide purpose by challenging people to grow personally and professionally. Personal growth is the development of mental and social skills that enable a healthy, happy, and fulfilling life. Professional growth is the development of knowledge, skills, and experience that contribute to success in the workplace.

Leaders can also provide purpose by helping people understand how their contributions help the organization achieve its goals. Keep in mind that people will leave organizations that they love if they are not being challenged personally and professional to grow.

When people have a sense of purpose, they are more flexible, creative, and open to new ideas. They are also better at solving problems and overcoming challenges. Providing purpose is essential for building resilient teams.

Recommended Reading:

Making a Difference at Work

What if We Had Workplace Actualization?

The Engaged Workplace: Making The Meaning of Work Visible

Learning Culture Breeds Knowledge, and Knowledge is Power


2. Show genuine concern for people.

Leaders show genuine concern by getting to know their people. Relationships with people can be both personal and professional at the same time. Showing genuine concern for people helps provide purpose.

Leaders can show genuine concern by helping people focus on their strengths instead of weaknesses. Focusing on strengths doesn’t mean ignoring weaknesses. Focusing on strengths can improve self-esteem. Self-esteem is a person’s sense of overall personal worth or value. People that know their strengths and have high self-esteem are better able to overcome adversity.

Coaching is a show of genuine concern. Coaching is the process of unlocking a person’s personal and professional potential. Workplace coaching is gaining in popularity and some organizations have embraced the idea of creating a “coaching culture”.

Recommended Reading:

Get to Know, and Care About, Your People

Strengths or Weaknesses?

Strengths at Work

The Strengths Revolution Transforming Our Workplaces

Self-Esteem at Work

Why Top Strengths are the Secret to Your Success

Build Your Career Around Your Strengths, Not Your Weaknesses

Coaching Others To Be Resilient

3 Tips for Better Coaching Conversations

Feedback Is Not Coaching


3. Encourage individual learning.

Leaders should develop learning goals for themselves and their team members. Putting new knowledge and skills to work quickly is essential for learning retention. Constructive feedback from leaders is essential to the learning process. Encouraging individual learning helps provide purpose.

With encouragement, some people will develop a growth mindset and become self-directed learners. Growth mindset is a person’s belief that his or her knowledge, skills, and abilities can be developed through hard work and dedication. Self-directed learners are people with a growth mindset that take initiative and accept responsibility for their own learning.

Learning prepares people for more responsibility. As people routinely put new knowledge and skills to work, they develop self-efficacy. Self-efficacy is a person’s belief in his or her ability to solve problems, overcome challenges, and complete individual tasks successfully.

Recommended Reading:

Getting More Purpose at Work With Feedback​

Foster a Learning Environment for Your Team and Yourself

Your Ultimate Guide to Applying Skills in the Workplace (and Making Them Stick)

3 New Year’s Resolutions for Workplace Learning and Development

Investing in the Professional Development of Your Team is No Longer Optional

How To Advance Your Career Through Skills- Based Learning


4. Delegate responsibility.

Responsibility is a duty or task that a person is required or expected to perform and be held accountable for. Delegating responsibility to team members provides opportunities for autonomy, ownership, and growth. Aspiring leaders will seek out opportunities for more responsibility. Delegating responsibility helps provide purpose.

Delegating responsibility allows leaders to maximize their own productivity. Leaders often have difficulty “letting go” of responsibilities that should be delegated.

Recommended Reading:

Empower Future Leaders by Delegating Task Ownership


5. Empower decision-making.

Team members should be empowered to make decisions consistent with their responsibilities. Empower implies giving the means and official authority to do something. Decision-making is the cognitive process of gathering information, assessing alternatives, and selecting choices or courses of action. Leaders should expect people to make some bad decisions. Learning from mistakes is essential for personal and professional growth. Empowering decision-making helps provide purpose.

Leaders should encourage team members to make timely decisions. The desire for more information to make decision must be balanced against timeliness. The willingness of team members to make decisions during times of adversity is critical.

Recommended Reading:

When You Delegate, Include Tools for Success

Boosting Decision Making and Performance Under Pressure


6. Keep people focused on the mission.

Mission is what individuals, teams, and companies do day-to-day to accomplish goals and objectives. Being mission-focused is always important and critical during times of adversity. Leaders keep people focused on the mission by eliminating distractions and prioritizing tasks. People should know the purpose behind each task. Second-guessing decisions made in good faith is not useful. Keeping people focused on the mission helps provide purpose.

Recommended Reading:

Hard Times? Focus on the Mission


7. Be there when the going gets tough.

Leaders need to be present to help their teams work through challenging situations. Being there means getting involved and helping, but not micromanaging. Being there when the going gets tough helps provide purpose.

It’s important that leaders “keep their cool” when the going gets tough. People trust leaders that can manage their emotions and stay calm in difficult situations.

Recommended Reading:

Leaders Need to be Present During a Crisis


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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