Adversity and continuous change challenge leaders, and even the most resolute and determined feel discouragement along their path in the corporate or entrepreneurial worlds. How do oil and gas organizations and the industry leaders build, foster and grow their resilience to cope with difficult periods and maintain the necessary focus on the ultimate goals in comparison with what does the theoretical approaches describe, is the matter of this paper.

Leadership has to be grounded on resilience, as one skill cannot shine without the other. Resilience has been characterized as the ability of a person or an organization to recuperate, recover, bounce-back, adjust or even thrive following adversity, and is widely acknowledged as a complex, dynamic and multi-dimensional phenomenon (Waugh and Koster, 2014). Our paper highlights how resilience takes form in individuals and organizations, comparing theory and practical stands. The BP Deep-Water Horizon Oil Spill is one of the examples selected to illustrate how resilience in the organizations takes shape before, during and after a catastrophic event. The three factors of resilient organizations will be exposed as the realization of vulnerability, the willingness to cooperate, and the power to act courageously (Oudhuis & Tengblad, 2018). The individual resilience will be exemplified by examples of how this quality and skill is strengthened throughout the careers of experienced individuals in private, public and not-for-profit organizations related to the oil industry, establishing a comparison between theoretical viewpoints about resilience, and practical developments.

A summary of findings will support the understanding of the theoretical basis related to the resilient profiles, and how they cope with the four elements that affect resilience: neuroticism, mindfulness, self-efficacy and coping, for adjustments in the workforce. Then, the analysis will propose a series of conclusions derived from the analysis of how resilient leaders in oil and gas from different organizations built their resiliency, taken from a series of published resources and direct interviews. A comparative analysis about these practical approaches in relation to theoretical research on leadership and resilience, is offered, in relation to the oil sector workforce, specifically for the managerial and executive contexts.

The conclusions about how, why and when the shaping of resilient profiles and organizations occurs, on theoretical and practical grounds provides a useful understanding about the positive impact that boosting resilience in the workforce has the potential to offer to enable more positive outcomes, less turn-over, less burn-out individuals and better performance.

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