The most worthwhile projects often lead us to our biggest challenges. Think back to the moments in your career when you felt most accomplished and fulfilled. These feelings probably didn’t come because you sailed through without resistance and scored an easy success. They’re directly tied to overcoming challenges, navigating setbacks, and persevering through adversity.
As a manager, you know it’s part of your job to motivate others and bring them together around big goals and a shared sense of purpose. When you do this, it can inspire your team to new levels of performance and productivity. But you can go a step further and give your direct reports tools and practices that can help them persevere through difficult, uncertain times — and emerge stronger, wiser, and ready to take on even bigger challenges.
In a complex modern workplace that asks a lot of us, equipping your team in this way is more important than ever. From interpersonal tensions and competition to institutional challenges and unhealthy workplace cultures, we encounter a lot of obstacles. So here are three ways you can help create a more resilient culture by helping your direct reports persevere in the face of adversity:
1. Ask your employees to share something they’re struggling with
In your next 1-on-1, ask each employee to share something they’re trying to overcome, whether at work or in some other aspect of life. Whatever it is, express your commitment to supporting them along the way.
2. Connect the dots between resilience, fulfillment and performance
When your direct reports feel that they have enough time and space to live full, well-rounded lives, they’ll not only be able to overcome obstacles, they’ll also perform better and take more pride in their work. Let your direct reports know you value their time away from work — and the stress that comes from deadlines and demands — as much as they do.
3. Recognize perseverance in team meetings
When you celebrate a project’s completion or a big success, don’t just focus on the outcome. Spend some time reflecting on the challenges your direct reports encountered along the way, and open up the conversation so they can share how they dealt with obstacles and what they learned.