The Power of the Check-In

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By Serendis

June 17, 2021

How does your team respond when challenging situations come their way? Do they duck to take cover, or do they step out of their comfort zone and embrace the opportunity?

Significantly build your teams resilience by regularly asking two simple questions…..

According to some very recent, sobering research from Marcus Buckingham on workplace resilience, only 16.5% of Australian workers, said they felt ‘highly resilient’, (slightly lower than the global average, including countries that have been severely impacted by COVID such as Brazil).

This seems surprising when you would expect that the countries with more direct impact to COVID would be reporting lower levels of resilience than Australia.  In fact, it’s the opposite.  When people have the opportunity to see how they respond in the face of challenge rather than the fear of it, they can be 2.8 times more likely to be highly resilient and the number continues to multiply the more change they experience.

At Serendis, we have the privilege of working with many people and being invited ‘into their brain’.  This gives us an insight into what makes people successful.  Time and time again, we have observed that resiience is at the heart of success in the corporate world.  More often than not, resilience is built from adversity.  Those who have endured setbacks and challenges when growing up often draw strength from having overcome these events and are more able to face the day to day hurdles of an executive’s life.

So how do you build resilience in others when the reality is that you are probably already pretty stretched yourself?

The research conducted by Marcus Buckingham identifies that 2 of the 3 factors that correlate most strongly wth an individual’s resilience at work relate to the leadership they experience. One of these factors that you have direct control over is the extent to which they feel their manager has their back.

To boost the resilience of your team members, simply make a habit of a light touch check in with each one of them on a weekly / fortnightly basis with two questions:

  1. What are your priorities?
  2. How can I help you?

In just a 15 minute conversation, you can dramatically increase a team member’s levels of resilience by providing individualised attention that enables them to feel seen and heard, immediately building the trust and safety required to step into the space where learning and growth occur.

Your team’s collective ability to not only bounce back in the face of adversity but also actively seek out challenge is critical if your business is to flourish during periods of ongoing disruption.

For many reasons, we see that people are placing greater importance upon staying safe, going under the radar, not rocking the boat – we know what causes this.  People have an instinctive need for security and safety.  It’s our most primitive basic need.  For many of us, this simply comes down to the need to pay the bills and fear of losing our job if we step out of what feels familiar.

The risk as we know, is if we are collectively playing it safe, the best possible outcome is that we stand still – getting what we’ve always got.  A more likely outcome, is a gradual decline as others around us innovate, disrupt and grow.

So how do you boost your team members’ resilience so that they step outside their comfort zone and lean into discomfort of the unknown?

This new research shows that it comes down to the strength of your connection and the deliberate conversations you are having regularly on a one on one basis with your team members.

Take the time, show that you care and offer support.

Thank you to Marcus Buckingham for providing the inspiration and data that underpin this article.