How To Supercharge Your Team’s Mental Toughness.

I was recently asked to work with a team to manage significant conflict. To be quite honest, it was just plain nasty. Team members had nothing nice to say about each other, engaged in gossip and blame, they only saw each other’s weaknesses and they were engaged in “below the line” behaviour and communication. They were only interested in running their own race without considering how they could work together and build accountability, opportunity, and consider possibilities and solutions. I knew it was going to be an uphill battle, but hey, I love a challenge.

When I first commenced working with the team, we brainstormed all the key attributes of a high performing team and they soon recognised, these were all the attributes that they lacked.

So what does a high performing team look like? Consider some key characteristics:

  • Passion – a high level of interest and engagement in the job they do.
  • High self-confidence – confidence in both their own abilities and their ability to interact with others (confidence, not to be confused with arrogance).
  • Control the things they can – recognising what is inside your circle or control and not worrying about what is outside this circle of influence.
  • Resilience – being able to bounce back from set backs.
  • Manage challenges – seeing the challenge and not the threat. Being able to find the self-development opportuntiies with each new challenge.
  • Focus – the opportunity to have a clear vision of what it is you want to achieve.
  • Relax – the ability to be mindful of your situation and recognise the need for time out and relaxation when needed.

It needs to be every organisations focus to have a high performing team. Just consider what they do for an organisation:

  • Accomplish complex tasks and high levels of productivity and performance.
  • Enable problem solving effectively and efficiently.
  • Effectively coordinate the efforts of diverse individuals.
  • Cover weaknesses by the strengths of others.

To enable a team to work together with purpose and vision allows for a significant cultural boost to any organisation. Developing Mental Toughness can have a big impact and rocket your team toward increased performance and achievement of successful outcomes.

Mental Toughness is defined as the quality which determines in large part how people effectively deal with challenge, stressors and pressure, irrespective of the prevailing circumstances (Clough and Strycharczyk 2012).

In the 4Cs model of Mental Toughness 4 pillars are identified:

  • Challenge – seeing challenge as an opportunity and “getting comfortable with being uncomfortable.
  • Confidence – having high levels of self-belief and confidence in interpersonal interactions
  • Commitment – goal setting and being able to stick to tasks
  • Control – self esteem, being comfortable in your own skin and managing emotions.

To develop “Team Toughness” consider these rocket boosters to enhance team toughness in each of the 4Cs:


  • Agree on who is doing what.
  • Accept that setbacks are normal occurrences.
  • Agree on a plan together and stick to it.
  • Give each other the space and time needed to recover from setbacks.
  • Work as a team to manage and accept the things outside of your control.


  • Review and prioritise work together.
  • Communicate with each other.
  • Identify each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
  • View challenges as opportunities.
  • Break down challenges into bit sized chunks so as not to get overwhelmed.
  • Recognise when you need time out as a team to recharge.


  • Take time to recognise contributions and give praise.
  • Review resources and energy and where these can best be directed.
  • Identify what motivates you as a team.
  • Agree on goals and deadlines.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask each other for help.
  • Listen to each other and ask questions.


  • Recognise each other’s strengths – engage in strength spotting and then acknowledge and use these strengths.
  • Don’t dwell on mistakes and over-generalise.
  • Beware of arrogance.
  • If confidence is knocked support recovery and support.
  • Always keep in mind the positive intent behind any conversation.
  • Give team members support to improve their skills.

Want to know more about developing your team’s Mental Toughness and rocket them toward success? Send me an email at to enquire about mental toughness and team building.

Michelle Bakjac is an experienced Psychologist, Organisational Consultant, Coach, Speaker and Facilitator. As Director of Bakjac Consulting, she is a credentialed Coach with the International Coach Federation (ICF) and a member of Mental Toughness Partners and an MTQ48 accredited Mental Toughness practitioner.  Michelle assists individuals and organisations to develop their Mental Toughness to improve performance, leadership, behaviour and wellbeing.  You can find her at or