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Book Review:

Book Review: The Resilience Toolkit – Powerful ways to thrive in blue-light services

Over 600 superintendents have benefited from workshops delivered by Jonathan Rees to equip them with the skills to survive and thrive in complex and extensive command environments. Jonathan has now taken his knowledge and expertise and distilled it into 'The Resilience Toolkit - Powerful ways to thrive in blue-light services' to help others succeed.

Those entering police leadership roles are under no illusion as to what awaits them, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are well-equipped to deal with it.

The 2016 Police Superintendent’s Resilience Survey revealed a rank facing high levels of demand where 50-hour plus working weeks were the norm.  Three quarters of those surveyed hadn’t taken their annual leave and rest day entitlement and many allowed their work to intrude on their non-work time.

To date, over 600 superintendents have now benefited from these workshops which equip them with skills to deliver effectively in complex and extensive command environments.

Following that survey, Chief Superintendent Ian Wylie, who was then Chair of the Command Resilience Business Area for the Police Superintendents’ Association, commissioned Jonathan Rees, who facilitates high-performing teams in blue-light services, to deliver a workshop programme to help senior officers survive and thrive under the pressured environment of policing.  

To date, over 600 superintendents have now benefited from these workshops which equip them with skills to deliver effectively in complex and extensive command environments.

The Resilience Toolkit – Powerful ways to thrive in blue-light services brings some of that learning together and offers senior police leaders a close-at-hand guide that will teach or refresh the skills necessary to help them succeed in these challenging roles.

Although backed up by detailed research and referencing, the book is not intended to gather dust by the bedside, but as a highly accessible and practical guide to understanding, building and sustaining workplace resilience. Broken down into manageable chapters, the Resilience Toolkit can be devoured cover to cover, but it equally lends itself to being ‘dipped into’ when necessary. In addition, there’s a quick resilience evaluation tool included that will point you to the most relevant chapters for you.

The impact of not being resilient is costly to individuals, organisations, families and societies as a whole. 

Mental health and wellbeing are high on the policing agenda and there is a lot of excellent work that is happening to improve our understanding of the causes and more importantly effective treatment. Jonathan argues that this focuses on curing the symptoms rather than the cause and it could be more beneficial for all to be ‘working upstream of the problem’.

 “The real problem is resilience. We are not as resilient as we need to be,” he says. The impact of not being resilient is costly to individuals, organisations, families and societies as a whole. The good news is that resilience can be developed and it is Jonathan’s hope that the Resilience Toolkit will be a part of the solution to building personal resilience.

The book is divided into four parts. The first presents a new integrated model of resilience; the second tackles the cognitive factors at play. This includes: our purpose, what drives us; our temperament, motivations and mindset. Part 3 focuses on behavioural factors, including helping us to identify when our effectiveness at its peak as well as our distractions, those ‘time pirates’ that steal vital minutes and prevent us from completing tasks. It also provides a unique tool for prioritising our lives and work; how we reflect and recuperate, and the importance of taking care of ourselves. The final part covers relational factors including tackling the ‘overload’ problem, our physical environment, identifying boundaries, connecting well with others and how we interact with others including giving feedback – also providing a novel model developed by Jonathan.

The Resilience Toolkit is intended as a practical handbook. Each chapter ends with a ‘next steps’ suggestion for the reader to try. Chapter 1, for example, explores workplace resilience and then invites the reader to measure their own ‘resilience factor’ using the Workplace Resilience Instrument at the back of the book. In addition to exercises contained in the book, readers can access additional materials by registering their copy of the book at http://www.momoho.co.uk/resiliencetoolkit/

The Resilience Toolkit is an excellent companion for all leaders, regardless of your resilience levels.

Everyone should be able to enjoy and not just endure their work. Resilience is a part of that which is why, he says, it is too important a subject to leave to chance.

Its encouraging, constructive and friendly approach makes it an easy and accessible read and the inclusion of many useful resources is a reflection of Jonathan’s genuine desire to help those working in a high-pressured environment to not just manage their role, but to flourish.

In his conclusion, Jonathan expresses his belief that everyone should be able to enjoy and not just endure their work. Resilience is a part of that which is why, he says, it is too important a subject to leave to chance.

The Resilience Toolkit by Jonathan Rees is published by SRA Books and is available to buy here. 

Related articles by Jonathan Rees

Personal resilience: How to thrive in the pressure cooker of policing

Ever felt overwhelmed by the sheer volume of what needs to be done? Jonathan Rees is the owner of Momoho which works with blue light services to develop high-performing teams and individuals. In the first of a series of articles, he examines ways for police leaders to tackle the pressure cooker of modern day policing. 

Top priority: Ways to prioritise your ever-increasing workload

In the second of a series of articles, Jonathan Rees, owner of Momoho and an expert in developing high-performing teams in the bluelight sector, examines different ways to prioritise your workload. 

Taking a helicopter view: Big picture planning

With so much on our plates, it is very tempting to dive straight into action, rather than taking a few minutes to scan the horizon. Jonathan Rees, who works with bluelight services, offers some guidance on the benefits of seeing the bigger picture. 

Getting out of your own way – Part 1: Temperament

New year, new you? In the fourth of a series of articles aimed at supporting you in the workplace, Jonathan Rees, owner of Momoho and an expert in developing high-performing teams in the bluelight sector, helps you identify your ‘time pirate’ and its impact on your performance.

Getting out of your own way – Part 2: What’s driving you?

What are your psychological drivers? In the fifth in our series of articles aimed at supporting you in the workplace, Jonathan Rees, owner of Momoho and an expert in developing high-performing teams in the bluelight sector, looks at our psychological drivers.

Mindset challenge: Is it wants to but can’t, or can do but won’t?

Do you have a fixed mindset? In our continuing series of articles aimed at supporting you in the workplace, Jonathan Rees, owner of Momoho and an expert in developing high-performing teams in the bluelight sector, looks at how mindset influences you and your team’s performance. 

High performance: Giving and getting great feedback

Does the word feedback make you shudder? In our series on improving performance in the workplace, Jonathan Rees, owner of Momoho and and an expert in developing high-performing teams in the bluelight sector, shows how the process can be a positive experience.


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