Reflections on team resilience | A Physiopedia trait

We recently completed the longest programme of courses yet on Physiopedia Plus (Plus). What started out as a simple review of the existing Sports Physiotherapy course, ended up in a lengthy process of creating the Applied Sports and Exercise Physiotherapy Programme.

Certainly, an exercise in the process of resilience and many valuable lessons learned but also the inspiring experience of working with amazing instructors with a wealth of knowledge. How fitting is it then, that the final course of this programme focused on Motivation and Resilience. While working on this specific course, it got me thinking of the Physiopedia team… 

This team has grown quite a bit in the past 2–3 years which is incredibly exciting but I think sometimes even overwhelming. Being a small part of this team is truly humbling and I stand in awe of each and every team member’s skills, abilities and expertise. Reading up about resilience got me thinking that Physiopedia team members are all resilient in unique ways. This is truly something we can all celebrate and be proud of. 

Quite a few of our team members have faced tough challenges and hardships this past year. The passing of loved ones, unanticipated illness, political and economical instability, even conflict. This is challenging for someone working in a distributed team but we all bounced back or beyond (or are in the process of bouncing back) and this makes us stronger individuals, but also a stronger team.  

Resilience is based on compassion for ourselves as well as compassion for others – Sharon Salzberg

In his course on Motivation and Resilience for Athletes, Carl Bescoby highlights steps to build collective resilience in teams. Working through these steps, it is clear that we are a strong and resilient team. Here are just some of my thoughts on our incredible team based on the recommended steps.

  1. Create a psychologically safe environment

Each and every member of our team demonstrates concern for each other and everyone else in this world, given our mission is to improve global health through universal access to rehabilitation knowledge. Our work environment is definitely an environment where mistakes are seen as opportunities to learn from and as team members, we all learn from each other, while also being allowed to contribute and challenge without fear or repercussions. 

  1. Create a shared sense of purpose

As a team, we are excellent at collaborating all across the world and finding ways to achieve our common goal. This shared sense of purpose to make rehabilitation knowledge accessible to all is definitely a driving force in each and every team member.

  1. Foster a collective identity

With the team expanding in the last couple of years we have developed a great shared sense of identity and all the shared experiences contributed to team cohesion. It is insightful and inspiring to learn from this diverse team with different backgrounds and cultures, but all of us still working towards the same goal.

  1. Promote a shared sense of belief in developing coping strategies

We are a bunch of optimistic individuals, who care for each other and support each other. We cheer each other on with every task and achievement. The many conversations and emojis in our Slack channels can attest to that. I am looking forward to the day that we can all meet in person and have a real non-virtual cup of tea together!

  1. Cultivating emotional intelligence

According to Salovey and Mayer, emotional intelligence is described as “the ability to perceive emotions, to access and generate emotions so as to assist thought, to understand emotions and emotional knowledge, and to reflectively regulate emotions so as to promote emotional and intellectual growth.” Putting a group of strong-minded, strong-willed and driven people together from different cultures and backgrounds is challenging at the best of times. Having emotionally intelligent colleagues and collaborators makes staying focused on our mission and goals much easier.

  1. Enhance the motivational climate

Our amazing team is exceptionally motivated and motivation is required to be resilient. From an achievement goal theory perspective, a mastery approach is described as improving competencies, skills and knowledge. The team is never shy or afraid to improve their competencies, skills and knowledge. The fact that so many of us had to learn how to edit a wiki, understand and write code, learn video editing programmes and translation programmes is a clear testimony to this. The best part, we are not only doing this for ourselves but also for every rehabilitation professional around the world!

  1. Build the skills of dialogue

Open and honest dialogue is key to the success of this team. Clear and effective communication is essential in a remote team and we manage that very well. In doing that we inspire confidence and trust in each other. 

  1. Develop and maintain self-compassion

Being a part of this team has taught me a lot about focusing on self-kindness and mindfulness instead of overthinking every single little thing.  What a wonderful experience it is to work in an environment that focuses on kindness, support and humanity.