Can Your Team Bounce Back? One Leader Shares Tips For Building Resilience

Resilience is key for making it through hard times. The director of product at Axoni shares his tips for building this skill in your teams..

Written by Eva Roethler
Published on Mar. 14, 2023
Can Your Team Bounce Back? One Leader Shares Tips For Building Resilience
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If there’s one thing the events of recent years have made clear, it’s this: resilience is an essential skill these days. 

Resilience helps people bounce back. It is the capacity to absorb stress and recover from adversity. It is the opposite of fragility. And it may be surprising, but resilience is not an inherent trait; it’s an ability that can be nurtured.

Resilience flourishes when employees are adequately supported by their teams and organizations. For leaders, this means creating a supportive and transparent culture with strong bonds. 

According to Alvin Oh, product director of New York City-based Axoni, connections that support resilience are often built in the small, in-between moments, like getting lunch together or in a quick walk to grab coffee.

“By taking the time to connect with our team members in small but meaningful ways, we can make big strides in building a more resilient and cohesive team,” said Oh.

While resilience is a critical skill, organizations should not expect employees to absorb hit after hit. It may be impossible to predict every setback, but leaders need to adequately anticipate and prepare their teams to thrive through adversity. 

To aid leaders in this effort, Built In NYC talked to Oh for more advice about fostering resilience in teams. 


Photo of the Axoni team together on a rooftop with the skyline in the background.


Alvin Oh
Director, Product • Axoni

Axoni is a technology firm that specializes in multiparty workflows and infrastructure.


How do you, as a leader, model resilience for your team? 

I believe that team resiliency is not only essential to inspire and motivate, but also to build a culture that celebrates perseverance and determination. To achieve this, I strive to lead by example by demonstrating positivity and adaptability. I realize it’s important I make a conscious effort to exhibit resilience in my actions and decisions.

I also think empathy plays a vital role in building resilience. As a leader, it’s my responsibility to understand the challenges my team faces and offer support where needed. I’m also honest about my own challenges and the fact that setbacks are a natural part of any endeavor. This builds trust and inspires my team to overcome their own obstacles. By being genuine and transparent, I create an environment where my team feels comfortable sharing their struggles and seeking advice, knowing that I’ll try to clear the path for them. 

Empathy plays a vital role in building resilience.”


Furthermore, I believe in being in the trenches with my team and showing that we’re in this together. Being a servant leader means setting a high bar and showing that I’m willing to put in the hard work too. With this mindset, I foster camaraderie and resilience within high-performing teams.


What are some actions you take to keep your team engaged, happy and motivated to come to work every day?

There are several actions I take: First, I prioritize communication and collaboration, encouraging open dialogue and participation from everyone on the team. This helps build a sense of trust and teamwork, making everyone feel like they are part of a cohesive unit working toward a common goal. 

Second, I make sure to recognize and celebrate our successes, no matter how small. This helps to build morale and create a positive atmosphere, while also reinforcing the idea that hard work and dedication pay off. The power of positive reinforcement and recognizing a job well done motivates and inspires my team to continue pushing forward together.

Third, I instill a sense of purpose by making sure that my team understands the context and, more importantly, the significance of their work and how it shapes the trajectory of the company. By doing so, my team can see the impact they are making and feel valued and appreciated for their hard work.


What are some activities your team does to strengthen bonds that support resilience? 

The Covid-19 pandemic has inevitably altered societal norms of person-to-person interactions. Team building is definitely not the same, but nevertheless, still possible. And one might argue that if anything, it has become even more important. 

As a mentor once told me, “The most valuable assets of a company ride up and down the elevator banks every day.” This quote underscores the importance of investing in our people, and building resilient teams. It’s easy to think that big, grand events or expensive perks are necessary to create a strong dynamic team, but that’s not always the case. More often than not, the smallest gestures and interactions can go a long way. 


Responses have been edited for length and clarity. Photos courtesy of Axoni and Shutterstock.

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