Recently, we discussed how to take risks safely and why a little stretch of your comfort zone is beneficial when challenging yourself.

But sometimes we miscalculate our landing and make a mistake; it happens to all of us.

I’ve ****** up big time, myself. I’ve messed up a few presentations. I’ve failed to motivate some people in the teams I’ve worked with. And, once, I just lost it at work.

It’s OK. No one’s perfect. It taught me (the hard way, sometimes) how to build resilience in a team.

As a leader, what matters is having the strength to forgive and the discipline to build habits for resilience.

But when it comes to your team members, what can you tell them when, for instance, they make a mistake?


“You did your best”


Obvious, I know. But do you build resilience in a team by taking the time to give a word of encouragement to someone who’s tried hard?

Don’t underestimate these moments. They can go a long way when it comes to nurturing trust and fostering transparent relationships with the people you lead.

The best advice I’ve ever been given was “to always, at any time, give the benefit of the doubt”.

When you acknowledge that someone did their best, and offer help to get them back on their feet, this is exactly what you’re doing.


Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted. And experience is often the most valuable thing you have to offer - Randy Pausch


“You will set a new goal”


How often do you remain stuck in the negative fumes of failure?

It’s something I’ve seen teams do a lot. They go for a coffee conversation where they all revisit the story until they convince themselves that it’s 1. maybe not as bad as it looks, or 2. the end of the world.

Not only does this impede team morale, but it’s a waste of time! If things get rough, the one thing everyone needs is to find a way to become more resilient…not to engage in negative self-talk!

Be compassionate but firm: ask your team to pick up the bits they can work with now, and adjust their initial goal. You believe they can do more and be better, and you’ll support them as they set a new challenge for themselves. This will encourage them to get back on their feet and move on.


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“You can do different next time”


Do you remember those maths lessons where in some exercises you had to test several hypotheses?

This is a useful example you can use when your team doesn’t hit the mark. Show them how they’ve eliminated another way that didn’t work. A little bit of humour never harms positive relations, and it also opens up new perspectives.

A growth mindset is important to navigate change easily, instead of fighting the inevitable. After all, the biggest danger you face when you build resilience in a team is to let self-doubt cripple and see them give up. Help your teams see the silver lining and build their resilience with a game of testing.

Related: Rethink the way you lead


I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work - Thomas Edison


“You keep in mind that together is better”


The ultimate test is when the team (and you) face a big blow. Some failures are collective. Teams needs the maturity to take responsibility for it, and the resilience to get over it.

As a leader, a huge part of your job is to handle your mistakes, and protect the trust between team members. If everyone needs to build resilience individually, it’s important for team members to build resilience with the rest of the group, too.

If people stop working together, as the pressure of delivery increases, then this is where you need to act. High performing teams remain authentic in times of change and can navigate pressure because:

They have created a dynamic where team members are bound to one another by a constant drive to exceed their potential, and where team members feel safe enough to take risks and fail. (RallyBright)

Pay attention to how much pressure the group is facing. If you sense that engagement is dropping, reinforce the common purpose of the team. Get them together: sometimes, it only takes a lunch or a few after-work drinks to get everyone bonded and back on track!

The biggest danger when building resilience in a team is to let self-doubt cripple and see them give up. Click To Tweet


Recovering from an epic fail is just another form of practice. Mistakes are the essential ingredient for building resilience in a team (and the best coaching opportunities for leaders!).

A culture of trust, where ego is in check for all team members, gives great results when it comes to learning from failure. After all, positive thoughts create positive actions!

Why not rethink your leadership by promoting gratitude at work and inviting compassion into your leadership? Why not role-model acceptance?

But observe the side effects: smarter team members, who are empowered to be vulnerable and see you as a wise advisor to turn to for their own development!

How do you build resilience and recover from your mistakes? Share your story below!

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