How Leaders Build Resilience in Good Times & Bad Times

New Book giveaway!!

20 complimentary copies available.

Leave a comment on this guest post by Dr. Jeanie Cockell and Dr. Joan McArthur-Blairn to become eligible to win one of TWENTY complimentary copies of, “Building Resilience with Appreciative Inquiry.

(Deadline: 12/8/2018)

*International winners will receive electronic versions.

Resilience isn’t something you have or don’t have. It’s a skill that must be practiced and fine-tuned.

Leaders build resilience as they cycle through hope, despair, and forgiveness.

We created a process called “Appreciative Resilience,” where leaders use the power of Appreciative Inquiry (AI) to build resilience.

How to build resilience:


Hope isn’t about being optimistic all the time. It’s about believing that, no matter what, the future will open to other possibilities.

Fostering hope builds appreciative resilience in the day-to-day. The practice of focusing on what is possible, what is hopeful, becomes a leadership habit of resilience—a habit of re-focusing on the possible.


Despair is an unwelcome guest that visits uninvited and it can show leaders what they truly believe in, what makes them strong, and how they can use their power most generatively.

In our work, we encourage leaders to focus not on the despair itself but on their strengths in times of despair. This can give leaders the stamina to venture even though it seems dark.


Forgiveness is a journey, moving back to hope from despair, and is the force that makes forward movement possible. In fact, it’s the only place in which minds can be changed and possibilities can be seen.

Leaders build resilience through forgiveness by giving up resentment, anger, and fear and stepping toward accepting things as they are. It requires that leaders both know and accept that people—including themselves—fail, in small or large ways.

To forgive a failure of someone else, like a team member, is to uplift them so they can grab on to the next project; it is to tell the entire team that failure can be part of good work; and it is to recognize the humanness and vulnerability of every person in the workplace.

How might leaders build resilience in themselves and others?

Dr. Jeanie Cockell and Dr. Joan McArthur-Blair, co-presidents of the consulting firm Cockell McArthur-Blair Consulting, are the co-authors of Building Resilience with Appreciative Inquiry. The veteran consultants’ latest book explores how leaders can use the practice of Appreciative Inquiry to weather the storms they’ll inevitably encounter and be appreciatively resilient.