5 Leadership Reflection Questions to promote resilience & team engagement
Before beginning any new project, contract, new role or new year – developing a closure and review practice on the work or year that has passed and reflecting on what worked and what didn’t is an important way for leaders to move forward with new projects.
Reflection practices are important leadership practices, and creating some space and spending some time thinking about the completion of the last project or the last 12 months will benefit leaders and businesses when considering what needs to be carried forward into the next project.
For example, taking a quick moment to reflect on 2022 we can see it was another dramatic year of change:
- the beginning of the year saw the ending of Covid restrictions,
- the UK experienced the hottest year on record which according to the national weather service – human-induced climate change which would normally be a 500-year event is now likely to happen every three to four years.
- the war in Ukraine and the resulting cost of the energy crisis
- the demise of the UK’s longest-serving monarch,
- as well as a turbulent year in UK politics
In the world of work the end of the year McKinsey reported that the Great Resignation continued and attrition rates were 25% higher than pre-pandemic levels.
More interestingly the study noted that of those that left their roles only 35% remained in their original industries, which means that a vast majority (65%) of employees left their industries for good.
Burnout and stress in the workforce accounted for more than 70% of the respondents cited reasons for leaving their roles and industries – toxic workplace behaviour is cited as the main reason employees leave a business.
Dealing with internal fractions is an essential leadership priority so that businesses retain staff especially as the recruitment pool is becoming smaller.
As well as staff leaving industries another pressure for recruitment is the ‘generation cliff.’
As more Baby Boomers leave the workforce and a numerically smaller pool of Gen X’s move into these roles – businesses will notice a further reduced talent pool in which to attract the best staff. Illustrating again that retaining staff is the best way for organisations to stay resilient.
In 2022 organisations found they couldn’t rely on old ways to attract and retain talent. Instead investing time, effort and energy into a higher level of engagement training and activities are essential to retaining staff. Investing in your team’s professional and personal development is vital to keeping key performers within your organisation – this is particularly important to the more innovative and ‘quick to move job’ millennial employee.
What does this mean for leaders?
As discussed in my last blog uncertainty can provide an opportunity for growth for resilient teams.
McKinsey’s end-of-year review illustrates that whilst crises and disruptions expose weaknesses, it also separates resilient organisations from those that are less invested and prepared.
One of the ways leaders can improve their own resilience and that of their team is to reflect on both individual and team wins and successes as well as learn from setbacks.
Sharing the teams’ successes and recognising the team wins will help to re-engage worried or disillusioned team members.
How can reflection help to maintain or to rebuild resilience?
Looking back at the year and reflecting on the challenges that leaders and their teams have faced will enable growth and adaptations moving forward into the new year and new projects.
How does a reflection practice benefit teams?
Through evaluating and creating a reflective practice leaders and team members will recognise:
- How the team has performed together.
- Gain a better understanding of where the team’s common strengths lie.
- What is the current level of resiliency?
- What strengths need to be developed?
- Where does more resiliency need to be built?
Once these reflected learnings are discussed the team can develop strategies that will create stronger bonds and more engagement and resilience to future problems.
A big part of the reflective practice requires a level of psychological safety which means creating an environment that offers an inclusive and safe environment so that team members feel heard and safe to talk.
In order for team members to be candid and put forward their best suggestions and feel robust enough to bounce back from any issues that are raised in the reflective practice there are a number of components that need to be in place.
These components must be in place for this reflective practice to succeed.
For example to feel resilient and part of the bigger picture team members need to feel:
- That they are competent and successful in their role.
- Team members need to feel valued and have a sense of belonging to the team and a connection to its values before the process begins.
- Team members need to feel reassured that they are important. Feeling that their input is needed is an essential prerequisite and feeling useful will in turn help drive future engagement.
- Command and control management techniques that are not democratic will have less efficacy in the future. With the introduction of more systemised AI technologies, managing and learning by rote will not be required. Instead creating a coaching management style will give team members the feeling of empowerment and potency. This is a particularly powerful engagement tool for Millennials.
- An optimistic outlook and a feeling of support and encouragement will assist team members to look to the future and find solutions to problems.
London School of Economics
“Resilience is the ability to deal with adversity, withstand shocks, and continuously adapt and accelerate as disruptions and crises arise over time.”
Developing these practices will encourage a deeper commitment at work and improving work experiences is central to feelings of safety which in terms leads to greater engagement.
Reflecting on the year that has gone by and reviewing the successes and setbacks will deepen and develop feelings of connection and build in learning experiences that will create longer-term resilience.
What responsibilities do leaders have to create a reflective environment?
In order for leaders to create this level of safety and create an environment that will ensure a candid conversation, there are three components that develop resilience are outlined in detail below and summarised here:
- Team leaders need to support their team so that they feel valued and recognised.
- Team leaders need to allocate reflection time and work with team members so that they are more able to think critically about past setbacks. In reflecting in a safe environment team members will be able to identify what was fact rather than an emotionally charged response.
- Leaders working in a coaching and collaborative way will encourage candid discussion, deepen engagement and team cohesion and build the team’s future success.
1. Support is an essential component of resilience development.
Team leaders that commit to inspiring and supporting their teams will mean that they don’t feel alone, that they are valued, and their hard work is appreciated.
Taking time to talk to your team will help to reduce any feelings of anxiety and reduce concerns and reduce feelings of worthlessness and impotence.
The coaching support technique of listening and asking curious questions around:
- What is going on for your team,
- What would they have liked to have done differently will mean that they feel supported and more engaged?
2. Critical Thinking: Separating Fact from Emotion
When creating a safe space for reflective thinking leaders will enable their colleagues to be able to think critically. This learnt and developed skill will help them to clarify how to move through unclear and complex situations that arise at work and at home.
Being able to separate what are the facts and what was the defaulting ‘anxiety’ bias by being asked some thought-provoking questions will enable team members to move through confusion and enable them to begin to see things more clearly.
3. Collaboration helps develop resilience
Resilient leaders are highly collaborative.
When creating a reflective practice will give the team insights and help leaders create feelings of belonging and negate the feeling of hopelessness.
When leaders use reflective practices they are able to identify new ways to collaborate in the future and learn how to maximise that collective success from past endeavours, which in turn will lead to a higher sense of value and contribution from their colleagues.
5 Leadership Reflection Questions to Promote Resilience & Team Engagement
The purpose of asking reflection questions is to help team members gain a better understanding of themselves and how they have approached certain difficult situations in the past.
Leaders who create a reflection coaching practice encourage others to think about what they have learned during the year and to consider what went well and what can be improved.
I’ve outlined below a sample of reflective questions that will help leaders to promote resilience and improve team engagement.
However, this list is not exhaustive and when working with leaders we work together to create a bespoke list of reflective questions that work for the specific dynamics of their teams.
If you would like to offer your team a facilitated reflective practice coaching session or assistance in creating a bespoke list of reflection questions reach out via email or book a time that suits you using the links below.
A sample of reflective team questions to promote resilience and engagement include:
- What worked for you this year, what successes did you have?
- What do you think you did well this year at home and at work?
- Are your strengths being wasted?
- What stood in your way this year?
- What can you improve upon?
- Where do you need to upskill?
I’d be interested to know how these questions resonate with your team and if you would like support in coaching your team through these questions or you would like my support in facilitating a session feel free to drop me an email.
Leadership Resilience Support:
Burnout is a real issue if leaders are trying to cope and be everything to everyone.
If leaders feel that their role is the crucial pin holding the team and the organisation together, the strain can be too much.
If as a team leader, you feel that you are overwhelmed a one-to-one professional coaching session will help to give you the time out, perspective and clarity you need so that you can operate at a level that your team needs.
Book an introductory session with me. As a professionally accredited ICF coach, I’ve worked with hundreds of leaders so that they reach their optimum levels of performance.
As a qualified nutritionist, a fitness professional and a highly experienced coach we can co-create a resilient mindset that leaders require for top performance I invite you to reach out using the link below.
To support organisations with performance issues and boost productivity contact Adele to co-create a Team Resilient Training Programme that is bespoke to your organisation.
A programme that will include personalised training as well as coaching sessions that develop personal and professional growth for the individual and a strong proactive, solution-finding, organisational culture for your business.
In terms of the types of resilience training programmes I can offer these include:
- Executive coaching for your leadership teams to avoid overwhelm and burnout,
- Team resilience training so that teams bounce back from difficult work periods,
- Live or virtual Resilience Training with follow-up group coaching sessions to embed training and encourage behavioural change.
- E-learning courses for your LMS system.
If you are interested in supporting your team’s resilience with a bespoke Resilience Training Programme then reach out so and book a quick call so that we can identify the needs of your team and what will work for them and your business.
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