Poetry Resilience: Rethink Team Building

Here’s another service story, and I hope it will inspire you to rethink how you’re managing/leading your people. You’re probably wondering what poetry has to do with the Armed Forces; it has a place. I promise. It also has a place in the corporate business world. Might I suggest hosting a poetry session during your next team building day? Um, yes…team building.



Okay, I agree with you: poetry is complex. It’s natural you might want to sink this idea, but hear me out. Consider the very foundation of poetry is to express, to explore, and to examine. It’s complexities, which can be simplistic, is a vessel in any healing process. So if it helps the healing process, why not consider its practice a valuable dosage of resilience, a benefit for the individual and the team. 

Sure I get it…that’s just odd, you don’t want to dig deep and connect right–or do you? Should you? If your position is responsible for leading team members, you will hopefully seek out meaningful ways to connect. Poetry is probably the last team building exercise you might consider. But it has potential.  Let me illustrate my  point through my personal experience.


Maybe you’ve seen the news, 22 Veterans a day commit suicide. In order to fight this tragedy, the Air Force has implemented Resiliency Day. It’s dedicated time to connect and discuss how to be resilient with the added stressors of military life: long deployments, extended absences from families, harsh living conditions, sustained injuries and sometimes even returning home, and by no means is this list all-inclusive. It provides a snapshot of the need to be resilient in the Armed Forces. 

I thought why not use poetry as a tool for open dialogue? We should write more about our experiences; collectively, we have so much to say. In reality, we all have much to say about our world and what better way to connect. 

So I introduced this idea to my former boss. He liked the idea well enough, and he even shared how he once won a Haiku contest. He was quite proud of the Haiku, so much in fact that he suggested everyone write a Haiku–just an idea. 😉 I knew my leader well enough. Of course, let’s Haiku away! 

Let me tell you, the military has quite a few fiery Bards in its mist. I was so impressed with the poems shared that day–many were written prior to our session. Some were longer poems, others short, but they were all quite powerful. Even our first-time poets were inspired, and I would have never guessed they were not seasoned Haiku experts. Most importantly, everyone’s openness allowed us to connect in a new way. We were all privileged to see beyond the surface, and we tapped into every human emotion that day. I will not, however, confirm or deny any tear shedding. 😉 But I will admit we bonded, we had fun, and we learned something new.  


You see, the importance of a poetry session is time given to connect. It is connecting on a different level–it is not a team hike, softball challenge, or picnic. Poetry Resilience is simply time to reach into each other’s protective shells and provide an opportunity to connect with each other–with written words.  We can all benefit from this practice; after all, writing can be cathartic. 


And now I’m sharing this experience so you can find a different way to reach out to your team–the most important task is that YOU DO. People want to feel connected at work, just as much as they desire to be valued. I hope you take the time to reach out and discover meaningful ways to unify your team. Remember while people learn differently, they will also connect differently. Do consider asking your people for ideas. What ideas do they have? What ideas do you have? I would love to hear all about them. I would especially love to hear that these thoughts helped your team connect.

The soldier above all others prays for peace, for it is the soldier who must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war.”    Douglas MacArthur



What’s a Haiku? A Japanese poem that totals three lines, first line 5 syllables, second line 7, third line 5.  How about mine below?  

Wind broke in the fight,

Their cries trickled in the night, 

We wait, pray for light. 

It could use some work. 🙂 Let’s see you try in the comments, please!

All images courtesy of Pixabay




5 thoughts on “Poetry Resilience: Rethink Team Building

    1. Thank you for visiting. I do wish this idea was embraced a bit more. In general, I think most people gravitate towards the typical team building activities, and that’s not a bad thing. We just need to reach all people and this is a different, but effective way to reach others. I’m still standing by Poetry Resilience.😉

      Liked by 1 person

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