The Foundation of Resiliency

Workgroup resiliency builds upon a firm foundation. Establishing that base requires conscientious preparation. It does not just happen. It develops when people with an enduring commitment to the group assure that it has core qualities that increase the likelihood of a creative, effective response to adversity. Groups vary a lot in their capacity to react effectively. It makes sense to develop the resiliency necessary to be on the positive end of that range. Leaders only make that commitment when they are confident that the investment is highly likely to justify itself.

Today’s post begins a series that will consider the conditions that develop workgroup resiliency. The focus is not so much on resiliency itself as on what promotes resiliency or the capacity to “recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change” (Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary, 1987).

Workgroups regularly encounter misfortune. Although much of the literature on leading change considers change as a good thing, many developments in contemporary workplaces are disruptive or even damaging in their immediate impact. Funding cuts in public services and streamlining in private businesses costs jobs, reduce services, and weaken the quality of relationships with service recipients. Leading change you believe in is a much easier job than leading change about which you have serious reservations. That second state is reality for many workgroups.

Workgroups that fail to respond effectively have problems. The distress of individuals undermines their health and wellbeing. Being part of the workgroup prompts distress rather than fulfillment. A poor response weakens the workgroup’s capacity to thrive. A poor response may spark further decline. Workgroup resiliency makes a difference.

A primary theme in the upcoming posts is on the quality of relationships, including the relations of leaders with members of their workgroups and the relationships among members of workgroups. The complex networks of relationships that leaders maintain with other segments of the organization shape a workgroup’s capacity to innovate, to respond, and to survive. Leading for resiliency will be the focus of the next post in this series.

Please share your thoughts and observations on workplace resiliency!

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