Resilience: Handling Team Shake-Ups

Resilience is a word you hear a lot in the business world. But what does it really mean? Most people think of it as a measure of how quickly you can get back to “life as it used to be,” but that’s not quite right.

Team Shake-ups : The Storms of Life

The real meaning of “resilience” focuses, rather, on how fast you can adjust. How long does it take you to accept the new “normal”? We’ve talked about how important it is to cultivate the ability to bounce back from routine setbacks. This can be especially key when dealing with a “team shake-up”—a sudden, key personnel change in your team.

Most of us have had the experience of walking into the office on a Monday morning and finding that someone we’ve worked with for years is suddenly gone. Or maybe you find out when you get that ominous company-wide email.

It can be a shock if it’s someone you considered a friend or with whom you worked closely on projects. You may even feel a sense of betrayal or abandonment. Those are natural feelings, and you’re allowed to have them. But wallowing in them won’t do anyone any favors.

People resign for better opportunities (or when things aren’t working out). People get fired. Sadly, people also pass away. In your career, you’re going to experience the loss of your peers on many different levels. But if you let it knock you off course each time it happens, you’re never going to get where you want to go in life.

There are a few steps you and your team should take any time you experience a team shake-up like this.

1. Talk It Out

Don’t be afraid to be vocal about your feelings. If you act as if everything is just fine when you know it isn’t, people will question how well you truly feel. But when you can have a healthy discussion about what’s going on, you will figure out how important communication is.

It’s vital that you acknowledge and communicate the loss within the team. You can even take some time to commiserate. Then, however, you need to accept the reality of the situation so you can move on to step two.

2. Create a Game Plan

Your friend, co-worker, or boss is gone. This might mean there will be new management coming in. You could possibly have new team members. Understand that things are going to change, and then decide how to move forward as a team.

Talk amongst yourselves and ask, “Who is going to pick up and carry on with this person’s work?” Don’t just stew in the unfairness or the shock of it all. Talk out how your team will redistribute the labor, and find a path to a new way of working together efficiently and fluidly.

3. Give Yourself Some Grace

Adjusting to the new normal is all a part of the process. It won’t happen overnight just because your team took the time to talk about it. But don’t look backward and dwell on getting “back” to that place you were in before. Accept that life is never going to be that way again, and focus instead on adjusting to the way things are going to be moving forward.

Team shake-ups are hard. They can have a major effect on every facet of your work life. But instead of sulking about missing your friend or imagining your team will never recover from this setback, look at things and say, “We’ll be just fine. How do we move past life as it was and get to life as it’s going to be?”

It’s time to find your new normal. Plan A is out the window. So what’s your Plan B? When you’re going through big adjustments, be aware of the extra stress and double down on the things that center you. Adjust your affirmations, dedicate more time to exercise and meditation until you’ve adjusted to your new normal. This is just another facet, difficult as it may be, of building that resilient nature that’s going to serve you so well throughout your life.

Until next time—go sell some stuff!


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