Authentic leadership: An interview on the importance of resiliency.


This is an interview that highlights the importance of resiliency in the development of authentic leadership. Luthans and Avolio (2003) identified the positive psychological capacities of confidence, optimism, hope and resiliency as personal resources of the authentic leader. When combined with challenges, these positive psychological states are posited to heighten the self-awareness and self-regulatory behaviors of the leader as part of a process of positive self-development and in turn develop authentic leadership.

During Charmaine Espiritu, R.N.’s time at the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, she has helped to lead a team of employees in the hospital that meets to discuss leadership topics that can be applied in the hospital. Leadership development is a central notion for the nurses at Children’s Hospital.

​Charmaine actively participates in leader development twice a month. Here are some of her insights on the importance of resiliency, how she has become more resilient at work, and the crucial lessons she has learned as a leader.

1.) How important is resiliency while working as a nurse in critical pediatrics at the Children’s hospital in Los Angeles?

It is very important, because nurses go through traumatic events daily and are constantly slammed with people from the start to the end of each 12-hour shift. It is important to be able to bounce back. The environment is constantly changing, children are in critical care, and we as nurses need to be flexible. 

When you lose your resiliency you set off a depressed mood, and you can lose your ability as a nurse to help and teach people. You do not want to explain medical issues to your patients, do not want to educate, and lose the ability to empathize. In essence, you lose your ability to relate to the patient and their parents.

Charmaine explained that the Children’s Hospital is a teaching hospital – the nurses are encouraged to not only treat their patients, but teach their patients and family about their health issues. As parents may be combative or emotional, the nurses must be resilient enough to teach under high amounts of stress.

2.) How do you define resiliency and how do you achieve this in your field of work?

As a group of nurses during one of our monthly leadership development sessions we defined resiliency as the ability to act like a rubber band or bouncy ball.

There are several strategies that I use to be more resilient:​

  • I try to have an equal work​-​life balance.
  • When I am feeling the effects of trauma from the day I try think of what makes me happy to help me change my mood.
  • Nurses count on one another for support.
  • I carry a bouncy ball as reminder for myself to be resilient.

3.) What important lessons have you learned from your leadership development training at the Children’s Hospital?

​​First, the leadership discussion sessions are helpful to reiterate what I should do.

Second, I feel empowered as an employee. After these leadership discussion sessions I found that it is important to actively find solutions to problems. I am now confident that I can find a solution to any problem I encounter at work. 

Third, when you’re a leader you begin to not only notice obstacles to others performance but also your own.

Recent work in positive psychology, positive organizational behavior (POB), and positive psychological capital (Luthans, Luthans, & Luthans, 2004), suggests that these positive psychological capacities (i.e., hope, confidence, optimism, and resiliency) have theoretical and psychometric support for being state-like (open to development and change) and thus can play a crucial role in developing individuals, teams, organizations, and communities to flourish and prosper (see Luthans, 2002a, 2002b; Luthans & Avolio, 2003; Seligman, 2002; Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi, 2000; Snyder, 2000; Snyder & Lopez, 2002).

I hope that you found this interview to be insightful and helpful in your journey to develop your authentic leadership. If you would like more information about the interview please send me an email in the response box below.


Luthans, F. (2002a). The need for and meaning of positive organizational behavior. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 23, 695 – 706.

Luthans, F. (2002b). Positive organizational behavior: Developing and managing psychological strengths. Academy of Management Executive, 16(1), 57 – 72.

Luthans, F., & Avolio, B. J. (2003). Authentic leadership: A positive developmental approach. In K. S. Cameron, J. E. Dutton, & R. E. Quinn (Eds.), Positive organizational scholarship (pp. 241 – 261). San Francisco7 Barrett-Koehler.

Luthans, F., Luthans, K. W., & Luthans, B. C. (2004). Positive psychological capital: Human and social capital. Business Horizons, 47(1), 45 – 50.

Seligman, M. E. P. (2002). Authentic happiness: Using the new positive psychology to realize your potential for lasting fulfillment. New York7 Free Press.

Seligman, M. E. P., & Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2000). Positive psychology. American Psychologist, 55, 5 – 14.

Snyder, C. R. (Ed.). (2000). Handbook of hope: Theory, measures, and applications. San Diego7 Academic Press.

Snyder, C. R., & Lopez, S. J. (Eds.). (2002). Handbook of positive psychology. Oxford, UK7 Oxford University Press.



3 thoughts on “Authentic leadership: An interview on the importance of resiliency.

  1. Pingback: Why do people resist change in organizations? | Leadership Archways

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  3. Pingback: Understanding and improving your own charisma. | Leadership Archways

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