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How to Foster Resilience in a Time of Crisis

Posted on 8/09/2020 by Boe Leung

Now more than ever it is key for us to build Resilience. I recently listened to a podcast, where Stuart Elliott, CEO and Owner of Elliott Scott HR and Susannah Yule, Director at YSC Consulting New York discussed ‘Mentoring Your Team Through A Crisis’ and they covered the five key steps to foster Resilience both personally and from a leadership perspective. 

Resilience is not just about the ability to cope with stress and adversity, but the ability to grow, adapt and perform through times of change and challenge in a way that not only shapes how an individual survives the day-to-day at this time, but how a team can help one another to thrive in the circumstances they find themselves in. 

Here are some practical tips for managers to think about when leading the way: 

  • Create a new way of working. Working differently to how we did pre Covid-19 whether that be from home or in split team arrangements throws up various downsides and work/life balance issues. Create a new set of expectations for your team and communicate them definitively. Examples may include encouraging regular breaks, spending time outdoors, working shorter but more efficient hours and cautioning your teams to limit their news intake to avoid feeling overwhelmed. The key thing here is to settle on changes that you feel your team will be able to maintain and trusting that this will enable them the headspace and right frame of mind to persevere.


  • Give positive feedback. This is always something that should be done but it is especially important to give recognition to those who perform well or who have made a great effort during this time. With many teams working remotely, creating that sense of togetherness and morale is especially important. Use your internal communication tools such as Slack and Zoom meetings to give shout outs. One thing the Charlotte Frank team have started doing is mentioning a ‘Win of the day’ on our team slack channel. It could be anything from having a great conversation with a client to making a placement, it’s really helped to keep us motivated.  


  • Re-create ad hoc conversations and social interactions virtually. The natural water cooler moments and collaboration that happen in person are so important and something people miss when they are not in the office. To recreate this virtually set up a team VC each morning – even if it only lasts 10 minutes, it’s a chance to see one another’s faces, talk about what each person is up to both at work and personally and offer help where needed. 


  • Simplify your goals. Both for yourself and those in your team. Make explicit connections between progress on current initiatives and the business’ long-term goals. Try to move away from a perfectionist mind-set, and be practical with what can be achieved under the current and foreseeable circumstances. Don’t be afraid of recognising that one strategy or target is not working or was unrealistic in hindsight, and then adjusting it. This kind of agility and transparency is what will allow your team to trust that you will do what is best. 


  • Be a role model. Leaders need to walk the talk and role model Resilience. If you are sending emails at all hours for example, you set the bar for what is expected of others. On top of that, if you are specifically telling your team to switch off after work hours for that much needed mental break, but still behaving in such a way yourself, you’ll confuse them even more and eventually this type of conflict between what is said and what is done can create serious consequences with regards to trust, openness and of course, Resilience. 


The important thing to remember is that Resilience is not a fixed trait or something that you either have or don’t have, it is something that can proactively be developed and this can distinguish a good manager from an outstanding manager, especially when times are tough. 

For a deeper dive into the importance of fostering Resilience in teams, check out the HR Insights Podcast episode by our partners Elliot Scott HR. If you would like to get in touch with myself for a further discussion on any of the themes mentioned you can do so on LinkedIn or at bl@charlottefrank.com