Book: Ten Traits of Resilience by @JamesHilton300 via @BloomsburyEd

Published by Bloomsbury Education

Ten Traits of Resilience Achieving Positivity and Purpose in School Leadership













  • Short, snappy but poignant and interesting.
  • Realistic, full of anecdotes but with well-reasoned explanations.
  • Draws wide range evidence, and well referenced.
  • Helpful and encouraging whilst being thought provoking and challenging.
  • The ideas are simple but not easy.  It deserves to be read widely and often.

Review compiled by: Peter Hall

Supported by: Bloomsbury Education Publishing

This book is remarkable gem.  It is easy to read but offers great challenge and inspiring ideas in a carefully explained and encouraging way.

The author draws on his experience, in an honest and true-to-life style.  He is open and honest and shares some of his worst experiences in a modest and humble style.  As I picked up the book I wasn’t sure that resilience was the key feature of leadership that I would have highlighted – I think I would have wanted resilience in my top ten characteristics of good leadership, following other books and courses I’ve been on I’m sold on the benefits – but I was slightly surprised to find a book putting resilience at the heart.  Until I started reading, and quickly I was convinced.

Chapter by chapter another strand of resilience is explained – and the obvious necessity becomes clearer and clearer.  The author likens each of the ten traits to a balloon holding a basket aloft, so a good leader needs multiple traits for their success and well-being.  Each chapter is a delight to read, written in a simple, readable and encouraging style.  There are many quotations from a wide cross-section of sources and many examples of school leadership in practice.

The author also invites much pause for reflection, asking some thought-provoking and helpful questions, and giving space to write the answers in the book.  This would be an excellent book for a group of leaders to work on together and could easily form the basis of some very helpful CPD for a group of staff.  I will return to this book again and again, partly because the ideas are very simple but very deep and I know I’ll benefit from re-reading and reflecting on the content but I think also because much of the ideas will take time for me to really understand them and put them into practice.

I don’t think I’m spoiling the book in sharing the ten traits; a sense of purpose, optimism, trust, courage, decisiveness, asking for help, a sense of fun, curiosity, taking care of yourself and others and turning adversity into opportunity.  Just the headings are enough to show the grounded nature of the author’s approach.  This is not a theoretical tome but it manages to combine helpful illustrations and examples with clearly discussed ideas.

I’ve read it rather quickly and look forward to reading each chapter again, answering the questions, reflecting more on each point and each question.  Even with a fairly rapid read, I’ve been inspired to think about my purpose in leading others, and been challenged not just to try harder, but to be more purposeful and to recognise the opportunities to develop the traits mentioned.  I fear we can become too obsessed with one trait above others, and maybe there are seasons where one is more needed, but this book has given me a larger picture and reminded me to step back and re-focus.  And to find opportunities to develop these traits in those I work with, and especially in those I lead.

This book is a remarkable gem.  The ideas are simple but not easy.  It deserves to be read widely and often.

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About PeterHall 7 Articles
Assistant Headteacher, started teaching in 1995. Teaching Maths, Physics and IT. Writes timetable. In charge of school systems, aiming to help us be more efficient in these troubled financial times.

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