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News | Feb. 29, 2016

Resiliency: Learn It • Practice It • Share It

By Joseph M. Yoswa

The boss is asking again about the requirements you owe him. Grandma hasn’t been feeling well for the last three weeks, and she’s refusing to go to the doctor. It looks like the pending winter storms are no longer pending but will most likely close the office tomorrow, which doesn’t help you get those requirements done.

How do you as a DLA employee deal with such problems? Will they overwhelm you, or can you work through them? Will you do just enough to deal with the immediate effects of each challenge, or will you find a way to deal with the stress each one brings? And how do you even begin to do all that?

A great place to start is to know about the variety of services available to you. Some may be in the community that you live in — but as a DLA employee, you should know that there are resources available to you at your workplace that can help you handle life’s challenges. Using these resources can improve your resiliency.

Resiliency — the ability to deal with pressure, ambiguous or emerging conditions and competing tasks while remaining optimistic, or at least productive and good-humored — is a DLA value.

To some degree, people instinctively deal with the stress and confusion of life. But some people handle adversity better than others. Is that an innate ability? An instinct? Or is it an acquired skill? The answer is probably somewhere in between, but we know that individuals have different levels of resiliency.

The uniformed services have been trying to make soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines more resilient for a few years. And in 2016, Defense Logistics Agency will focus on encouraging our workforce to become more resilient. Throughout this year, you will hear how supervisors, managers and directors can coach and lead their teams to be a resilient workforce.

Fortifying workforce resiliency is part of Goal 2 of the DLA Strategic Plan 2015-2022: People and Culture. DLA leadership recognizes that the agency’s success depends on the readiness of the workforce to meet evolving mission requirements. For DLA to achieve its mission of supporting the warfighter, both the overall workforce and each individual in it must be resilient.

“We must be ready to adapt to our changing environments, but we each respond to changes differently. As a workforce, we can leverage our differences and deliver more innovative and effective outcomes,” said DLA Director Air Force Lt. Gen. Andy Busch.

DLA employees at all levels can adapt to change not only by taking advantage of employee resources, but also by openly talking about strategies for being resilient, Busch said.

“Supervisors and their teams should continually find opportunities to talk about resiliency,” he added. “I also encourage managers and employees to bring resiliency into their everyday discussions, so that we have an ongoing dialogue about how to deal with challenges we face.”

There are several agency programs that fall under the resiliency umbrella, managed by organizations such as Human Resources; Morale, Welfare and Recreation; Equal Employment Opportunity; and the Chaplain’s Office.

“Resiliency is a process, not an initiative,” said Phil Dawson of the Resiliency Program Management Office. “This is a living, growing and expanding program. Resiliency is not a new idea, but DLA wants to ensure everyone knows what it means to them and where they can turn if they need resources to help improve.”

He noted that programs to help employees with life-work challenges have been around for years. “Our mission is to help employees recognize there are programs that will help them be more resilient and that we can help develop coaching materials and sometimes even new programs,” Dawson said.

Many DLA employees are already participating in these programs.

The DLA Fitness Program allows workforce members three hours per week to engage in physical fitness activities, use the agency fitness centers and participate in fitness events.

DLA’s Employee Assistance Program provides confidential assistance to help employees deal with personal issues that might impair their job performance, health or well-being.

DLA Life Connections helps DLA military and civilian employees manage important events in their lives while meeting the demands of work and home. The program is available at no cost, and assistance is available 24/7.

The Relocation Assistance Program helps authorized DoD civilian employees relocate between duty stations.

The Chaplain’s Office provides religious logistical support and confidential pastoral services to DLA employees.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Office is the Agency’s lead on all EEO, affirmative employment and diversity matters and ensures agency-wide compliance with federal statutes, regulations and executive orders.

“Resiliency is not something someone does to you or gives to you,” said Renee Roman, Ph.D., DLA’s chief of staff. “It is something each of us does for themselves, to help weather the storms that may come at work or at home. We want our employees to know we recognize this is an important component of life. We are committed to providing the resources, programs and processes that support their personal efforts to become more resilient.”

DLA will have four focus areas to help employees understand what resources are available to them: mental, physical, social and (if desired) spiritual.

“Dealing with stress and adversity in healthy and productive ways is really the cornerstone of what we mean by ‘resiliency,’ Brad Bunn, DLA Human Resources director, said. “Lt. Gen. Busch has committed to helping the DLA workforce strengthen its resiliency in the face of personal and professional stressors — not only because it’s the right thing to do for our people, but also because a more resilient workforce is more engaged, productive, and high performing.”

DLA will soon provide an online overview of what resiliency means to our workforce, as well as supervisor/manager training and coaching tools.

Chris Born, DLA Public Affairs, contributed to this article.



DLA defines resiliency as how an individual deals effectively with pressure, ambiguous and emerging conditions, and multiple tasks; remains optimistic and persistent, even under adversity or uncertainty. Recovers quickly from setbacks. Anticipates changes and learns from mistakes.

DLA’s resiliency model areas are:

– The ability to effectively cope with mental stressors and challenges. Pay attention to your needs and feelings.

– The ability to adopt and sustain healthy behaviors with wellness and fitness programs and healthy eating opportunities.

– The ability to network and connect with others to further job skills and development.

– the ability to adhere to beliefs, principles, or values needed to persevere and prevail in accomplishing missions.