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For everyone of us, world leaders, business leaders, opinion leaders, staff, employees, housewives, kids, you name it – COVID-19 has been one of the most stressful and difficult times ever. No sense of control, no exact explanation, a lot of confusion and a heavy dose of fear – for your business, for your health, for your family. It hasn’t really been a walk in the park right? And as if once wasn’t enough, Mauritius is once again in a lockdown and the fear factor has jumped overnight.

And then you hear that word that just keeps on coming – Resilience. That word became famous during our last COVID-19 stint and again it’s starting to come up in organisations, in speeches. Overseas, that word has been going around for more than a year now.

At Maluti, the team has been trying to build a sense of resilience and because we’re a SME – we are much more vulnerable than most organisations. So how do you go about bringing in a sense of resilience into your staff and yourself? Because, for sure, you cannot just wake up one day and say that “Yes! Im Resilient!”. Or you might think that “I’ve been through a lot so I’m resilient” and then faced with the numerous challenges brought into your daily life by the pandemic – well, you just can’t bounce back. Because, “bouncing back” – that’s the layman term for resilience.

In January this year, the Harvard Business Review came up with an article that said “7 strategies to build a resilient team”. You can access the full article here : https://hbr.org/2021/01/7-strategies-to-build-a-more-resilient-team# and in summary they advised :

1. Candor Breaks: Psychological safety — the belief that any team member can speak out without consequences — is crucial to creating resilient teams. When it feels like there’s an elephant in the room, leaders of high-performing teams create what we call “candor breaks” to encourage team members to share their thoughts and feelings.

2. Independent Observers: To help team members embrace frank assessments of their work, resilient leaders invite outside experts to offer an objective perspective on issues/team dynamics.

3. Story Sharing: To foster participation, trust, and engagement, leaders of resilient teams often encourage team members to map out their life’s journey, including highs and lows, and share highlights with the rest of the team. In being vulnerable, the team creates an environment where compassion and humility are welcomed.

4. Owning Challenges: Resilient teams express their fears and concerns with each other. To build trust and honesty, leaders must facilitate this process and encourage people to admit fears or relationship challenges and canvass the team for solutions.

5. Show That You Care: Leaders have to regularly demonstrate that they are genuinely interested in the progress the team is making, asking probing questions to understand underlying issues.But asking is only half the equation: Resilient leaders must also listen carefully to the answers they get from team members. This is where a resilience deficit will be revealed.

6. Temperature Checks: At the beginning of every meeting, ask everyone to state their energy levels on a scale of one (low) to five (high). This simple and fast exercise that will quickly determine whether there is someone who needs attention or is outside their normal range of fatigue and frustration.

7. Commit to Building Each Other’s Resilience: We call this “co-elevation.” It’s essential to establish clear and unambiguous expectations around team unity and peer-to-peer support. Any hesitation or reluctance to help a struggling colleague is a sign that deeper interventions may be needed. Ultimately, team resilience is similar to a battery. It needs to be restored and recharged regularly. Teams that put in place measures to do that will find that they are better equipped and – more importantly – willing to undertake any challenge throughout the pandemic and beyond.

Right, while being physically present and able to face to face communicate with each other – those tips might work. However, COVID-19 brought into our midst the social distancing, the zoom meetings, the work from home – that alienation (horrendous – if I may add!) from physical contact. So how do you build resilience when that basic human need for social interaction is suddenly diminished to almost none?

We are no experts, right? Because we haven’t studied human psychology and none of the current living psychologists have worked in such an environment or faced it themselves but we are interested in helping our clients so we do read a lot ( or my boss does mostly!). We try to bring to you tips that we think might work. Those above-mentioned tips can work for you but we have also found a series of activities on the positivepsychology.com website that would help those stuck with working from home. If we can’t find a resilient team because we can’t be all together then let’s help build resilient individuals – those who make lemonade with lemons or throw a hell of a tequila party!

And maybe armed with those lemonades and tequila makers, we can forge through COVID-19 with resilience!