Find it hard to manage your team? Encouraging employees to learn on the job and speak up with ideas and suggestions for change can build teams that are more effective and resilient in the face of unexpected situations, according to new research.
The study, led by researchers from Rice University in the US and University of Windsor in Canada, examined what makes employees more resilient and fosters learning in the workplace. The researchers specifically examined the interactions of 48 teams from five Canadian technology startups. They found that teams were more effective and resilient if their bosses encouraged employees to take risks, make suggestions and learn from the process.
Creating a work environment centered around learning and open communication is helpful as teams grow and take on new tasks, said Danielle King, Assistant Professor of Psychological Sciences at Rice University.
Leaders must reinforce this workplace culture with positive language that signals openness and a focus on their development. For example, when a boss responds to an employee who makes an on-the-job error by saying, ‘Great, now you can learn from this experience,’ rather than berating them for making a mistake, it makes a big difference, the researchers said.
The findings will appear in the journal Group & Organization Management.
“Knowing that you have a leader who is focused on learning and not just on performance outcomes is critical. It’s also important for them to be intentional about communicating this regularly to employees, as it can make all the difference in building more resilient teams. Leaders need to verbally reward a learning mindset,”King noted.