James Hilton‘s new book takes a look at resilience and how school leaders can build theirs.
It is built around James’s own personal experience, not only of a breakdown in his own resilience but also in the many successful years he spent in primary school leadership. It is peppered with personal anecdotes and vignettes of school life that illustrate his points.
The 10 traits of resilient leaders are identified and each explored in some depth, each one analysed in relation to school leadership in particular. As a reader, you are invited to reflect on each trait through the lens of your own experience and practice. As seems to be very much the fashion these days, James also includes contributions from well-known figures in education, especially those working around wellbeing and resilience in schools.
One of its strengths is the careful and detailed breakdown of “how to”; such as how to build courage, or how to be more decisive. These steps feel manageable and I can see them being genuinely empowering. James does not shy away from his more difficult experiences either, although if you wish to know about them in more depth, you would be well advised to have a read of his first book, Leading from the Edge. What appealed to me in the “Taking care of yourself” chapter (unsurprisingly) is the importance of self-care for leaders, both to ensure that you are doing the best job you can do and in terms of modelling positive behaviours for the rest of the staff. Increasingly, schools are incorporating wellbeing into their values and if you are a leader at a school on that journey (as I know many are), this book is the perfect read for you.