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Fostering Resilient Teams: The Role of Better Leaders

By Numly - Leadership Coaching Group
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Organizations realize that resilience is the secret ingredient that helps them not just survive but thrive in the age of constant change and disruption. Apple, for example, managed to exceed Wall Street expectations and achieved its 2020 Q4 earnings despite the pandemic. Their CEO, Tim Cook, credited the high-performing and highly resilient teams for this achievement.

As the pace of transformation accelerates, the onus falls on leaders to assess their skill sets and determine whether they are contributing towards building resilient teams. It is now clear that the previous command and control or authoritarian leaders cannot build resilient teams or ensure continued business success, especially as employee engagement and business success become inextricably linked.

As leadership styles evolve, here’s a look at the leaders who can build resilient teams:

Support New Thinking and Transformative Change

Leaders who can support new thinking and transformative change are the ones who can build resilient teams. These leaders give people the space to look at problems from different angles. 

Such leaders enable their workforce to come up with creative solutions and spot hidden possibilities to identify potential sources of competitive advantage. These leaders are not afraid to shake things up without destabilizing the organization by identifying and leveraging opportunities that are ripe for experimentation.

Exhibit Emotional Intelligence and Cognitive Reappraisal

Building innovative and resilient teams needs leaders who have a high degree of emotional intelligence. Centering leadership around understanding, appreciating, and regulating emotions and making conscious efforts to choose response over reaction becomes critical for leaders as demographics and workplace dynamics change.

Along with this, leaders have to demonstrate cognitive reappraisals that involve recognizing their negative patterns and thought loops and developing the capacity to step back and look at a negative event in an objective manner. This capacity makes leaders more efficient in managing stressful situations, resolving conflicts, and securing buy-in with a positive and constructive attitude.

Create and Support Diverse Networks

When it comes to resilience, knowledge is power. As such, leaders who are open to receiving a wide input of new and fresh ideas from a variety of sources successfully build a collaborative and resilient work environment.

These leaders work hard to create a shared purpose within their teams, which builds greater connection and collaboration. They value the voice of every team member and are more intentional about building team connections and trust bridges by championing diversity and inclusion.

Leaders who are authentic and ‘keep it real’ are purpose-driven and:

  • Focus on delivering enablement at work when work happens
  • Instill a sense of meaning among their teams
  • Help team members recognize the collaborative efforts of their peers
  • Capably build shared purpose

The teams then work to their full potential, become more solution-driven, and channel performance in the pursuit of organizational success.

Build Supportive and Psychologically Safe Spaces

Good leaders are now hyper-focused on building supportive and psychologically safe spaces for their workforce as disruption and change remain constant. Leaders know that their words and actions have an impact on their workforce, especially their mental health. As such, it becomes their responsibility to create psychologically safe spaces where people can bring their authentic selves.

These leaders are clear communicators and make people feel like they are a part of the whole. They take feedback and inputs and remain rooted in objectivity. They own their mistakes and exert that sometimes things go wrong, and there’s always something to learn from it.

These leaders are accessible and non-judgmental and remove irrational fears about perceptions from the minds of their workforce. They encourage seeking help and make sure that people have the organizational support to achieve their goals.

Coach More, Manage Less

Resilient leaders who build resilient teams demonstrate a leaning towards coaching leadership. These leaders do not focus on monitoring, controlling, and inspecting their teams. Their focus, instead, is on training their teams as they believe people are innately resourceful and can discover their perfect solutions. Such leaders help people develop both technical and soft skills to become successful along their career paths.

Coaching leaders create more resilient teams since they help their teams identify the barriers to their inner resilience and then help them take actionable steps to close these gaps. Regular conversation and judgment-free feedback backed by empathy and understanding allow people to make the behavioral changes needed to build resilience.

Such a leadership style also keeps people on the path of continuous learning and an exploration of the self and, as such, organically enhances team resilience.

Flexible and Agile 

A car bumper protects the passengers in a car in the event of a collision by providing a bounce back. In the same way, good leaders act like car bumpers for the organization and handle bad news or disgruntled opinions with objectivity, flexibility, and agility. These leaders capably change directions quickly when and as needed and act as shock absorbers for their teams.

Such leaders build team connections and trust bridges within teams with ease. Since they are flexible, agile, and adaptive, they can turn existing challenges into opportunities and quickly adjust their behaviors, ideas, and strategies to meet the needs of the changing environment. 

These leaders lead by example, promote an adaptable, agile, and proactive workforce, and efficiently foster high-performing, resilient teams.


Today, good leaders are those who create unified, collaborative, safe, and enabling work environments where people are valued. They assist in building team resilience by:

  • Helping people navigate barriers to success
  • Delivering the help and support to work through ambiguity and disruption
  • Demonstrating a calm and positive outlook on current situations and future opportunities

 Connect with us to see how our coaching leadership platform helps you develop better leaders who can capably build resilient teams to navigate today’s dynamic world of work with greater awareness, confidence, and clarity.

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