The Foreign Service Journal, April 2021

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | APRIL 2021 23 SPEAKING OUT Resilience Leadership BY JOSH GLAZEROF F Josh Glazeroff is currently serving as deputy executive director in the Bureau of Consular Affairs. His previ- ous assignments include Santo Domingo, Durban, New Delhi and Islamabad. T he year 2020 was one awful thing after another; 2021 is, well, it’s hard to say yet—more of the same? Getting better? 2022 is still too far away to be certain. What does that mean for us and our teams? When it comes to resilience —defined by retired FSO and resilience expert Beth Payne as “the capacity to adapt success- fully in the presence of risk and adversity and to bounce back, or forward, from setbacks, trauma and high stress”—doing more now for ourselves and our team- mates will help us far into the future. Many of you are familiar with the State Department’s Center of Excellence in Foreign Affairs Resilience (known by its acronym, CEFAR), a tremendous resource for all personnel that is based at the Foreign Service Institute. Some of you are already practitioners and pro- ponents of meditation, jigsaw puzzles in the office, walks and virtual coffees. These tools are not new, but focusing a discussion of resilience on our roles as leaders is. Why should leaders focus on resilience? Why should you care about resilience? Are you or your teammates deal- ing poorly with stress and anxiety? Are you or your teammates having mood swings often? Out sick a lot? These are all signs that you or your staff members are not resilient. When we take care of ourselves and set boundaries on what we are going to take on at work, we are more adaptable and collaborate more effectively. When we have a strong social network, focus on the positive, and reflect on meaning and purpose in life and at work, we are better employees. Taking the time to assess our stand- ing in these areas and address our weak points will pay off this year and in the years to come. Talking about resilience with the other members of your team can be a force multiplier for the entire organization. Beyond the actual human understanding of those with whom you work, you will end up with a more effec- tive team. A resilient team is one that is creative, adaptive and ready for all of our multitudinous challenges. Such a team is more likely to be successful and meet those goals you set for it. The 7 Cs So what can we do about it? What should we aim for? Borrowing an approach from Beth Payne, I will frame the discussion in terms of the “7 Cs of Team Resilience”—culture, communica- tion, competence, connections, commit- ment, coordination and consideration. For each of these, the challenge is to take immediate steps that build Talking about resilience with the other members of your team can be a force multiplier for the entire organization. resilience and make us stronger as an organization going forward. For each, I am thinking of what practical actions I can take as a leader to improve. Do you work in an office where everyone is comfortable sharing their experiences and stories? Do you have shared values, identity, history and purpose? Culture in an organization is a foundation for resilience. Those who feel grounded in their teams are more will- ing to share what is happening for them, address difficult situations and find solutions to problems, both personal and professional. How do you get people to share more? One idea is to hold small gather- ings with some frequency. Whether it is an informal coffee or a book club, you can give your team a chance to interact and build a basis for future discussion. A particular annual party or a well- known weekly event make the calen- dar a culture-builder. In our office we celebrate one of the lesser holidays each year by having a team member dress in an animal costume and serve a pancake breakfast (yes, it’s true!). What is your team’s culture like? I freely admit that communication is not my strength. However, there is no way to get around it. If you want team members to be well informed; if you want them to share their views and