Chapter 3

2. How to make your team flexible

As a team leader yourself is no longer the only priority, you have a whole FFS team to support – but you know that already, right? It is important to encourage your team’s flexibility as well, so that they are also resilient and adaptive to change, especially with their own challenges in this kind of mixed teams. Developing a team culture and maintaining balance within the team are important tasks in your effort to provide successful FFS experiences. Here are a few tips:

(a) Wear down resistance

Don’t forget that your team members are human beings and are experiencing the same instincts as you have, before building up your flexibility skills. However, you are their leader and the definitely look up to you for support and guidance (yes, don’t question that even for the adult members of your team!). When circumstances are changing, it will be quite challenging for them to immediately adapt and be happy with it! It is up to you to encourage them to embrace this change, to explain to them the reasons for this change, as well as the benefits they will enjoy. Respond to their questions, discuss about it openly and honestly and lead by example: if you are flexible, they will too! 

(b) Be a team

People tend to adapt more easily in circumstances where they feel trust and safe. Having in mind that they can easily ask for support and this support will be provided to them, created a feeling of security and supports their self-confidence. Peer support and team spirit is also important here as the positive attitude of some members and the good results that came out of it are always boosters for other members to follow. Try to eliminate any sense of fear of failure by promoting mutual support and team spirit as precondition of a safe environment.

(c) Involve and engage

People tend to feel more comfortable in the face of a new circumstance or an unexpected event when they have the opportunity to eliminate or define its consequences. In other words, it is very helpful for someone to adapt and accept the change if they can somehow form the new situation and become part of it. This is not hard to accomplish! Discuss openly with your team about the new conditions and invite them to brainstorm on how it could be adjusted to their needs, how they would feel more comfortable and what they would like to avoid. Encourage them to be creative, receive their suggestions and try to integrate them to some extent in real life.

(d) Accept and understand

There are multiple ways that people may respond to the unexpected. Some people are bolder and willing to jump into adventure, while others feel more insecure and prefer to avoid any involvement. And having an FFS team with such a multidimensional dynamic requires that you to listen to the needs of each and every individual. Of course, for the first group any change will be easier, while the second will probably struggle and be pressured a lot. Embrace their differences, accept them and help the “weaker” members by offering your support, providing additional training or asking a more confident member to support them as well.