Consultant story:

Dee Solley, Resilient Leaders Consultant

We asked Dee Solley, Head of National & Regional Fundraising for Crisis to tell us about her experience.

“There are over 170,000 people homeless in Great Britain today. I’ve gone from thinking “that’s terrible” to “that’s end-able”.

 

Positively reframing is just one of the skills I’ve built on through the resilient leaders elements (RLE™) accreditation course.”

Why did you need leadership training?

Having been in middle and senior management in charities for nearly 20 years I felt the time was right to both boost my leadership momentum and remind myself of what I was good at.

Why Resilient Leaders Elements (RLE™)?

I’ve done lots of management leadership training courses but by the time you reach a certain level, most are simply not that helpful. RLE™ was different because it was the only programme that combined ‘who I am’ with ‘what I do’ and promised to be able to demonstrate tangible growth.

I was particularly impressed by the built in ‘buddy’ system, and the fact that the programme always includes a cross-section of senior leaders from different sectors. Obtaining perspectives from peers who are outside of the third sector had a huge appeal.

The longer duration of the course was also attractive. Often leadership courses are interesting whilst you’re there but quickly forgotten once back at work. RLE™ accreditation courses last for five months so there’s a more continuous development process that facilitates real change in behaviours. 

 

RLE™ also enables continuous development beyond the duration of the programme; not only do you become part of a CPD community where everybody supports each other but you’re also able to continue to use the Resilient Leaders Development Programme (RLDP™), the online development tool.

How has it helped you professionally?

In addition to boosting my self-belief and awareness of what I’m good at, I now feel really enthused again about being a leader. I feel re-invigorated about what I can bring both to my team and the organisation. 

 

Like many organisations, Crisis is really focused on helping staff manage stress and mental health at work. Staff are often supporting and working with people with complex lives living and coping with difficult circumstances that can have a real impact on their wellbeing and stress levels. By modelling resilient leadership behaviours I hope I’m able to help create an environment and culture where others can become more resilient and stress is less likely to occur. 

 

Diversity and inclusion is another area of focus the programme will help me with. Crisis has an ambition to ensure that absolutely nobody feels they are discriminated against at work, and it is my responsibility as a senior leader to ensure that I demonstrate behaviours that help create an environment and culture that supports and helps us to achieve this ambition.

One of the biggest challenges for Crisis (and others in similar sectors) is changing both public attitudes and government policies. To do this we need to have enough resilient leaders to create real change. As an accredited resilient leadership consultant I hope to be working not only with my teams but also across the organisation to help develop a resilient workforce and bring about real change.

Has it helped in any other ways?

I’m generally much more professionally self-confident and able to have difficult conversations where needed. I’m also far more aware of what might make me feel stressed and able to take action before I reach that point.

 

I wish I’d had this same resilience at other points in life and been better able to ask or even demand support from others. There was a point where I was going through multiple personal challenges outside of work and was in a new job where I received no support at all from my manager. I now see it as my job as a leader to know my team well enough that I am able to support them through difficult times in life as well as being aware of my own needs and prepared to demand support. 

 

If I went through difficult times again I would have numerous ways of managing – from taking strength engine challenges on the RLDP™ to speaking with my buddy or other members of the RLE™ community. Most importantly, being more self-aware and having belief in myself and my coping mechanisms would mean that I wouldn’t now reach crisis point. I’d know to take action earlier.

What are your plans now?

In addition to continuing to develop in my role at Crisis as a senior leader, I’m already coaching some of my team members and a peer in using the RLE™ framework and the RLDP™. There’s a real lack of momentum around developing leaders for the future in the charity sector, I hope to be instrumental in changing this.

I’m thrilled to be part of the RLE™ community. I’ve met some really great people from all different walks of life, with different reasons for doing the accreditation. We are all using what we learnt in different ways but with a shared enthusiasm for developing resilient leadership. That’s priceless.

What would you say to anybody considering the resilient leaders consultant accreditation course?

Do it. Why not? It’s appropriate for people at any level and in any circumstance. Even if you think you’re perfect there will be areas that you are shown where you’re not. It’s by far the best thing I’ve ever done. I absolutely loved it.

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