Mr. Bizer’s first class, titled “Leading Teams Through Resilience,” covered the importance for leaders to ensure team resilience for long term success. Leaders can influence the level of stress in their followers and improve operational performance by further developing individual and organizational resilience. Mr. Bizer stated that stress is an underestimated obstacle to success for both teams and leaders. Businesses estimate that in 2010 they lost 217 million workdays, and $17 billion is lost each year due to stress-related related problems. Moreover, job stress accounts for approximately 7.6% ($197.6 billion of total US healthcare ($2.6 trillion)
Why is resilience so necessary? Mr. Bizer said “resilience is the ability to grow and thrive in the face of challenges and bounce back from adversity.” It builds positive emotion, optimism, gratitude, and counteracts negativity bias. It also leads to better health, better sleep, and calmness, lowering depression and ensuring greater life satisfaction. This guarantees more optimal performance from teams. But individual and organizational resilience is not just about bouncing back from crisis. It is important to distinguish resilience from resiliency, which is simply that resiliency is an individual trait that influences habitual patterns of individual thoughts, emotions, and behaviors regarding disruptions, stress, danger, and/or adversity. Resilience, on the other hand, is a cognitive skill that can be further developed to assist others to positively adapt their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors regarding disruptions stress, danger, and/or adversity. Resilience, therefore, is what allows organizations to maintain the collective capacity to make positive rapid adjustments in spite of disruptions, stress, danger, and/or adversity.
To build resilience, Mr. Bizer suggests leaders to practice realistic optimism, and to get in the habit of running through various scenarios before making decisions: thinking of the worst-case and the best-case scenarios can help us focus on the realistic, or most likely, scenario. This allows leaders to create a plan of action that prevents unnecessary stress on team members, which can deplete energy, stop problem solving, and generate unhelpful anxiety.