“The only thing we can influence is what we choose to do ourselves.”

Speaking at our recent event, resilience and leadership expert Graeme Cowan, shared his insights on how to build more resilient teams at work and why care is the single defining factor to achieving this.

“We need to put the humanity back into work,” says Graeme.

According to a recent report released by CSIRO, Data 61 and Safe Work Australia on ‘Workplace Safety Futures,’ rising workplace stress and mental health will be one of the six key mega trends predicted to have a big impact on the workplace over the next 20 years.

“If you want to increase productivity and efficiency at work (as a leader), you need to prioritise the health and wellbeing of everyone around you, first and foremost.”

Graeme believes there are three key elements to improving mental health in the workplace and building resilience:

  1. Self-Care
  2. Crew Care
  3. Red Zone Care


Self-care isn’t selfish,” says Graeme. At the end of the day, we can’t help others, if we can’t help ourselves.

When you get self-care right, you become more resilient. When you’re resilient, it leads to growth.

There are three parts to good self-care:

  • Vitality – move well, live well, eat well. When you truly look after yourself, your body and mind will benefit.
  • Intimacy – examine your relationships and the people you have built around you. How connected are you to others, how good is your support network? Who do you go to in times of need?
  • Prosperity – what’s your purpose? Find the meaning in your life and what drives you.

We all have a cup for each and how full each cup is, depends on how we choose to fill it.

 Crew Care

We all want to feel like we’re part of a team and have people around us who are there to listen and provide support. This is particularly evident in times of change and disruption.

What makes a great team, all comes down to the humane elements, says Graeme.

“Trust, shared goals, respect, collaboration, awareness, understanding and support are all the foundations for building resilient teams.”

Psychological safety at work is also a big thing, believes Graeme. People want to feel like they are in a safe place to share their thoughts and ideas openly and freely, without fear of retribution.

Create an environment where this is fostered and encouraged.

Red Zone Care

The third element to building more resilient teams is centred around the concept of the “Red Zone Care.” This is about being able to identify and help teammates in distress. There are five parts to this:

  • I – Identify: how do you know when someone is not their usual self? What are the signs?
  • C – Compassion: can you put yourself in their shoes? What are they feeling?
  • A – Access to experts: put them in touch with support networks, EAP and outreach programs.
  • R – Revitalising work: work is good for recovery. Involve them, give them goals and purpose.
  • E – Exercise: it’s good for the mind and the body!

“At the end of the day, it’s about being present and in the moment, caring about the person you’re with and being more aware – of yourself, others and your surroundings,” says Graeme.  

Small, consistent actions carried out every day, lead to resilience and growth.

To learn more on this topic, visit Graeme’s website: www.graemecowan.com.au


You may also be interested in the related articles below:

How to be a more mindful leader
Empathy with an edge: the makings of great leaders

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