Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education



First Advisor

Jason Lively

Second Advisor

Robyne Elder

Third Advisor

Lynda Leavitt


This is a qualitative study about the redemptive intelligence of successful leaders and their opportunity to grow their personal and team performance through failure. Leaders who have a strong ability to leverage failures for improved performance for self and team, exhibit high levels of redemptive intelligence. Leaders who have a weak ability to leverage failures for improved performance for self and team, exhibit low levels of redemptive intelligence. After failure happens there are one of three paths that everyone will follow. They are first, a path to improved performance than what was experienced before the failure. Second, a return to normal levels of performance. Third, a path to lower levels of performance than what was experienced before the failure. From current literature and this study’s research of successful leaders from various industries, it was found that there are six common themes or phases of redemptive intelligence that impact the successfulness of the failure recovery process. These phases can happen in succession or in variable order. They are first, bravely acknowledge and process painful emotions with hope. Second, pause and reflect for lessons learned. Third, fix-it with humility and honesty. Fourth, grit through with purpose and perseverance. Fifth, forsake with faith and resolved confidence. Sixth, support with joyful optimism in self and others.

The study included 10 participants who were surveyed and interviewed. Success was defined by these participants along the lines of progression and joy. Failure was defined along the lines of pain and quitting. These definitions evolved over time and became less of a zero-sum game where they were focused on things and became more about learning and progression. Participants came from successful stints in various industry and ideology including government, politics, military, business, holistic health, law, homemaker, medicine, education, engineering, music, ecclesiastics, and athletics. Positions held by participants included Dean, Professor, CEO, Partner, Government Commissioner, Military Commander, Composer, Producer, Doctor, Surgeon, Lieutenant Colonel, Owner, Coach, Bishop/Pastor, Instructor, Lawyer, Teacher, Mother, Father, Missionary, Engineer, Founder, Board Chairman, Trainer, and President. Some of their accomplishments have included Researcher of the Year, expert surgeon, elite ranking in global business, National Champion, Founder of businesses and associations, Partner in company, Commander of elite leaders in military, Federal Commissioner, Parent, Grammy award winner, Vocal Group of the Year, Fellowship, and Doctoral degrees, etc. Participants were chosen for their common ability as proven and successful leaders.

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