Finding the right lever to drive team performance is a challenge.

But there is one characteristic common to the best teams that will create massive shifts in team behavior. The tip this week is to drive performance is focus on the resilience of your team.

High-performing teams keep people thriving and working together. At the heart of every high-performing team is being resilient in the face of external challenges or internal conflict. Resilience is the ability to bounce back from setbacks, adapt to change, and maintain a positive attitude even when faced with challenges or difficult circumstances.

High-performing teams are often called upon to handle complex projects, meet tight deadlines, and navigate uncertain situations. Resilient team members are better equipped to handle these challenges, as they maintain their focus, remain motivated, and persevere through difficult times.

When team members are resilient, they are better able to work through conflicts and disagreements, communicate effectively, and support one another during times of stress.

Understanding Resilience in Teams

Resilient teams possess several key characteristics that enable them to effectively respond to adversity. In our work with organizations across industries, we have found 3 common attributes to indicate a team with resilience.

Trust & Openness

Firstly, they believe that they can complete tasks together, and team members manage their confidence level to avoid complacency or unnecessary risk-taking. resilient teams trust one another and feel safe to take interpersonal risks, leading to a greater diversity of perspectives and novel ideas. This team’s psychological safety allows members to openly and honestly voice their opinions without fear of criticism or rejection.

Model Teamwork

They share a common mental model of teamwork, which includes an accurate understanding of their roles and responsibilities during adversity. A common mental model of teamwork is the idea that individuals work together collaboratively to achieve a common goal. This mental model emphasizes the importance of communication, coordination, and mutual support in achieving success.

In this model, each member of the team has a specific role and responsibility, but their efforts are integrated and coordinated to achieve a shared objective. Members of the team are expected to communicate openly, share information, and provide feedback to each other to ensure that everyone is working towards the same goal.

Resourceful & Innovative

Resilient teams improvise and draw upon existing knowledge and skills to develop new solutions in real-time and even under extreme pressure. They believe in their ability to complete tasks together, share a common mental model of teamwork, can improvise, and trust one another to feel safe to take interpersonal risks. If resilience is such a key element in building high-performing teams, what can you do to begin building resilience in your teams?

Building Resilience in Teams

Clarify Purpose

Resilience needs clarity of purpose, vision, and core behaviors. Have each member jot down what they see as the team’s shared purpose. Sharing and discussing these responses sharpen the focus of its mission and get everyone on the same page about what team success looks like.

Clarifying purpose can be hard. During a Fierce consultation, Kelly Paine, a Costco Accounting Manager summarized the problem perfectly:  “Sometimes it seems like the different groups all speak their own language. Finance speaks accounting. IT speaks Tech, and the Consultant speaks “Consultant-ese”. We need a shared language.”

Creating that shared language is what you need to accomplish to clarify your purpose and become more resilient.

Build Connections

Connection is the commitment to and investment in the good of the whole team across all members, as well as the ability to communicate well and resolve conflicts productively. Highly connected team members trust each other, have psychological safety, and are open to productive conflict. To determine the health of connections on your team, take a closer look at interpersonal behavior. If some team members seem reticent to ask for help, uncomfortable speaking their minds, or engaged in passive-aggressive behavior, install and practice better communication strategies and models.

Reinforce Positive Attitudes

Attitude refers to the competitive spirit, energy, and optimism that sets teams up for resilience. Teams that shine in the attitude department have team members who bring a “can-do” attitude to work. They’re willing to adapt, grow and learn with transparency. To assess the strength of your team’s attitude, look at how they approach risk. Is there a sense on your team that you can all brainstorm freely? That you can experiment with ideas and test strategies that may fail? If not, as a leader, you can take steps to encourage a more risk-tolerant culture, including signaling your attitude about risk through very intentional language.

Enable Decision Making

Performance is the ability to regularly meet or exceed goals, act with agility, and show a significant bias for action. High-performing teams consistently deliver results, but performance also goes beyond the numbers, to process. To assess your team’s performance-related processes, ask yourself the following: Are your team meetings productive? Can the group discuss issues and make related decisions quickly? Are the talents and expertise of all of its members in play? These are some of the issues that prevent high-performing teams from continuing to perform quarter after quarter.


We all are looking for the right lever to pull that creates change at a faster rate. While there are many elements to high-performing teams, focus on resilience because it touches so many other elements. Finding ways to strengthen the individuals within the team and building a strong network of connections creates an almost impenetrable force against challenges. 

Look for ways to build resilience and you will find your team’s performance improves.

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