Brain power

On the job learning and listening to employees builds resilient teams

Originally posted on The Horizons Tracker.

The provision of employee development opportunities has long been accepted as key to employee morale, engagement, and productivity.  Recent research1 from Rice University also highlights how crucial it can be for developing resilience within teams.

The researchers examined the kind of things that make people more resilient while also facilitating learning in the workplace across nearly 50 teams from five different Canadian tech startups.

“Understanding what organizations can do to help employees become more resilient is the focus our work in my WorKing Resilience Research Laboratory,” one of the authors explains. “This research project offered an opportunity to uncover the important role of leadership and employee voice in the resilience process.”

Building resilience

The researchers discovered that teams were not only more resilient but also more effective when they were encouraged by their manager to speak up with suggestions, take risks, and generally learn from this process.

If managers can create an environment that is supportive of open communication and learning, then it is extremely helpful in terms of supporting the team in its growth and in taking on new tasks. As such, managers must strive to develop such a culture and use positive language that helps to signal such a focus on employee development and openness to new ideas and frank communication.

“Knowing that you have a leader who is focused on learning and not just on performance outcomes is critical,” the researchers conclude. “It’s also important for them to be intentional about communicating this regularly to employees, as it can make all the difference in building more resilient teams. Leaders need to verbally reward a learning mindset. For example, when a boss responds to an employee who makes an on-the-job error by saying, ‘Great, now you can learn from this experience,’ rather than berating them for making a mistake, it makes a big difference.”

Article source: On The Job Learning And Listening To Employees Builds Resilient Teams.

Header image source: iStock.


  1. Brykman, K. M., & King, D. D. (2021). A Resource Model of Team Resilience Capacity and Learning. Group & Organization Management, 46(4), 737-772.
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Adi Gaskell

I'm an old school liberal with a love of self organizing systems. I hold a masters degree in IT, specializing in artificial intelligence and enjoy exploring the edge of organizational behavior. I specialize in finding the many great things that are happening in the world, and helping organizations apply these changes to their own environments. I also blog for some of the biggest sites in the industry, including Forbes, Social Business News, Social Media Today and, whilst also covering the latest trends in the social business world on my own website. I have also delivered talks on the subject for the likes of the NUJ, the Guardian, Stevenage Bioscience and CMI, whilst also appearing on shows such as BBC Radio 5 Live and Calgary Today.

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