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“If you find what you do each day seems to have no link to any higher purpose, you probably want to rethink what you’re doing.”

– Ronald Heifetz, The Practice of Adaptive Leadership: Tools and Tactics for Changing Your Organization and the World

Leadership Development

We will start where you are.

Current thinking about Leadership Development includes:

  • Mindfulness
  • Empathy
  • Courage
  • Highly developed Social Skills
  • Emotional Regulation
  • Focus on people, the future, optimism, passion
  • Collaboration
  • Integrity

The above list of skills are in addition to the ones we already know:

  • Instructional leadership
  • Effective management, budgeting
  • Excellent communication

Many of your leaders already have some if not all of these skills. We will start where you are. Your team will learn how to advance these skills in themselves and engage others to not only solve problems but also to create positive change that moves your organization forward. Through simulations, case studies and most important the leader’s own experiences we will co-create a unique program for your organization.

This is not training; it is experiencing the benefits and power of well-developed work-based social and emotional skills. We like to think of this as authentic leadership, artful leadership and ultimately transformational leadership. Principals, superintendents, Boards of Education, teachers, students parents, directors, assistant principals, business officials – your team and your school – will then be able to inspire, transform, build and affirm the best school culture possible for the entire school community.

We draw from experts. We incorporate current theory and research, canonical literature, and best practice from this ballooning field. We synthesize the best of Senge, Ken Leithwood, Harvard’s project Zero, Fullan and Hargreaves, Daniel Pink, Harvard Business Review, Ed Week, Heifetz and even the Dalai Lama; Lincoln too! We’ll filter current news that is relevant for your school leaders in our Ed Trends links. We will want to hear from you and publish your blogs so that this website becomes a vital tool and place for leadership to share ideas and learn.

Recommended Reading from the Leadership Field

Coaching

David Rock, Quiet Leadership: Six Steps to Transforming Performance at Work
Collins, 2006; 260 pp.

International executive coach and corporate “thought leader,” David Rock brings his coaching model, much of which is based on neuroscience, to leaders of organizations who are trying to improve employee performance. He states, “The first step to being a Quiet Leader is to think about people’s thinking. In other words, to become passionate about improving not what people are thinking about, but the way they think,” (p. 35). I love Step Four: “Dance Toward Insight.

 

Leadership Development

Martin Linsky and Ronald Heifetz, Leadership on the Line: Staying Alive through the Dangers of Leading
Harvard Business Review Press, 2002; 251 pp.

If I could only have one book on my shelf on Leadership it would be this one!

 

James Surowiecki, The Wisdom of Crowds
Doubleday, 2004, 271pp.
Why the whole is more, smarter, greater than any one individual.

 

David Hagstrom, From Outrageous to inspired: How to Build a Community of Leaders in our Schools
Jossey-Bass, 2004; 179 pp.

Author David Hagstrom recounts his work as Principal of the Denali School in Fairbanks, Alaska. The book is an inspiration and challenge to the field to look at the work of school leadership very differently from what the conventional wisdom would advise. It is a book about how building a school community can transform not only the lives of children, but indeed the very life of the whole community. Hagstrom quotes Roland Barth: “. . . principals needed less to be heroes than they did to be hero makers (p. 97).”

 

Tony Wagner, Creating Innovators
Scribner, 2012; 270 pp.

Most of us are familiar with Wagner’s book, Closing the Achievement Gap or seen his Tedtalk on how to design schools that foster innovative thinking. As co-director of the Change Leadership Group at the Harvard Graduate School Education, Wagner has lectured throughout the country, authored five books and speaks out about some of the flaws in our current Race to the Top thinking. There is a nexus in his passionate belief in the need for schools to foster creativity and the language of the current resurgence of interest in Emotional Intelligence. He explores the common denominators of the great innovators of our time and how our schools can help students develop these skills.

 

Nel Noddings, The Challenge to Care in Schools: An Alternative Approach to Education
Teachers College Press, 1992; 190 pp.

One of the great influences in my thinking about school leadership was the brilliant teacher, author and Stanford Professor, Nel Noddings. I had the privilege of taking several of her courses while she was at Teachers College, Columbia University. Her 1992 book, The Challenge to Care in Schools: An Alternative Approach to Education, was more than prescient. It was a call to action that is as critical an imperative today, if not more so than it has ever been. She states and gives muscle to the following,: “ We need a scheme that speaks to the existential heart of life – one that draws attention to our passion, attitudes, connections, concerns, and experienced responsibilities (p. 47). She can translate these ideas into how we teach literature, mathematics or make friends.

Finding Superman:  Debating the future of Public Education in America, edited by Watson Scott Swail

The release of the controversial documentary “Waiting for Superman,” resulted in an interesting debate about Charter Schools and the current School Reform movement in America. See the book review which includes essays by Diane Ravitch, Arthur Levine, John Merrow and others. The essays in the book ask the critical questions school leaders across the country are asking.