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Literature of Leadership: Building Resilience with Appreciative Inquiry

BUILDING RESILIENCE WITH APPRECIATIVE INQUIRY. Joan McArthur-Blair & Jeanie Cockell. (2018, Kindle Edition)

Dealing with the ambiguities and challenges from the recent global pandemic requires emotionally intelligent leaders who are capable of building community in times of uncertainty, inspiring a sense of hope for the future, and fostering organizational resilience. Therefore, one of the most important qualities leaders must cultivate in themselves and nurture in others is resilience as a practice. This book provides a commentary for building resilience as a leadership practice that leverages the power of Appreciative Inquiry (AI)—a discovery-based approach to change with a focus on strengths and positivity.

The underlying thesis of this book is that people are best able to face adversity and find a path forward when they focus on the positive aspects of what is working which, in turn, builds resilience. Recognizing that leadership development is both a personal journey and non-linear in nature, the authors note that the book chapters are not intended to be read in sequential order. Rather, following chapter 1—which provides an introduction to the “appreciative resilience” model that aligns with AI processes, principles and practices—the reader may choose to review select chapters of particular interest.

More specifically, in Chapter 1, an “appreciative resilience” model is presented for leaders to use in working with the key triad for building resilience, which the authors identify as hope, despair, and forgiveness. Each of Chapters 2 through 5 addresses specific practices of resilience that can be applied and adapted to one’s own interests. Chapter 6 takes a deeper dive into resilience as a practice in the everyday work of leaders. In the final chapter 7, an outline for conducting an appreciative resilience workshop is presented on how leaders can ignite conversations on building resilience within teams and the broader organization.

This book strikes an appropriate balance between theory and practice. Each chapter is infused with engaging stories on practical applications for honing resilience as an essential leadership practice, as well as reflective poems and questions. If you are a leader who desires to continually grow as a catalytic force in leading positive change in work and life, this book is a must read!

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