Resilience matters

Cornelia Lucey, Partner at The People Project

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The People Project is led by two female directors. At the People Project we have a vision for a world where all are emotionally agile – this is where people feel resilient, perform at their best and then help others to do the same.

We are two coaching psychologists with over a decade of experience in both the education and corporate sectors. Through our research and careers (including many years in Teach First schools campaigning for educational equality) we have identified that resilience is the foundation of emotionally intelligent and authentic leadership. In turn, resilient leaders create cultures where their colleagues are able to feel and perform at their best. Resilience is therefore the cornerstone for every child’s development too.

It was with this insight, and with our training and research in psychology, that we set up the People Project. We now work with individuals, teams and organisations to develop resilience and performance.

We know the challenges that people face in the 21st century workplace – be it a teacher or child in a school, or a senior leader in a charity or corporate organisation - and we have the skills and experience to support people to flourish. Our work is particularly applicable to issues around retention, engagement and performance. Every day we help teachers, senior leaders and corporate organisation to create meaningful change – and we’re very proud of this.

So why have we decided to partner with the FEA and particularly the IG3 working group? We are a boutique consultancy, but with the FEA we are stronger. Alongside the fantastic partners in the IG3 group we can more widely share our expertise and approaches for adults who work with children. We want to share our resource to make sure resilience development is the right of all children, teachers, professionals – not just for the few.

Recently we attended the Teach First ‘Challenge the Impossible’ conference with over 5,000 educationalists at Wembley Arena. There we heard a headteacher, Marcus Shepperd, talk about his experience of developing as a leader. He discussed the importance his mother placed in instilling resilience in him, and how he strives to instil resilience in his students in a myriad of ways. He said: “A lot of children are told they will not do something. It’s our job to say you can and you will. It’s exponentially hard – but we will not stop.”

And Marcus took the words out of our mouths – because we too at the People Project will not stop until nationally our schools, workplaces and communities understand and know how to build real, sustainable resilience. Without a foundation of resilience, you cannot learn and you cannot lead – and who wants to settle for a society like that?