Thursday, June 6, 2013

Ideal Bookshelf for School Leaders

                In my previous post, I explained how I was inspired to create some ideal bookshelves—one for educators, and one for leadership. If you didn’t see it, you can go here. Also, I’ll briefly explain the caveats (more fully done on previous post).
I believe educators and leaders should read widely and deeply. All sources can help one grow in both realms. But I’m going to limit myself to books specifically focused on the topic, albeit a bit more loosely in some cases.  Rather than go into any real depth about a book, I simply will make a general comment or two about why the book belongs on my ideal shelf. I hope that will encourage others to read it for themselves and feel the same power.
                Let’s look at the shelf for leadership in schools:

·         Seven Secrets of the Savvy School Leader: Surviving and Thriving by Robert Evans. He knows schools and the people in them.
·         Servant Leadership: A Journey into the Nature of Legitimate Power and Greatness by Robert Greenleaf. The greatest leadership manifests itself in serving others rather than ourselves. This also reminds us that education is a service, not a product, industry.
·         The Little Big Things by Tom Peters. A passionate reminder that much of leadership depends on one’s small, daily actions.
·         Primal Leadership: Learning to Lead with Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman. Education is such an intense, very human endeavor that EQ comes to the forefront all the time.
·         Leading in a Culture of Change by Michael Fullan. Rather than providing a pedantic formula, this book provides sudden insights tied to real situations.
·         Leading Change by John Kotter. Normally I dislike formulaic approaches to anything, but following the eight steps in here has served me well.
·         Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…and Others Don’t  by Jim Collins. Perhaps a clichéd choice, but Collins’ work resonates loudly. Just this week I find myself drawing heavily on it for a presentation.
·         Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Chip Heath and Dan Heath. In very concrete fashion, this book presents some wonderful tips for effective communication.
·         Truman by David McCullough. Truman’s story is a terrific one of persistence in the face of adversityand even contempt
·         Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin.  Schools are full of strong-willed folks with loads of opinions. Lincoln shows how to value the dissent and use it to strengthen rather than break apart.

Thoughts? Additions?


Anonymous said...

Good list, I'll probably pick up the Tom Peter's Book. Good to Great was not that good. I like a book called High Altitude Leadership - a good book about working in team. Flight of the Buffalo is a good leadership book.

Mark Crotty said...

Hi, Bill,

Thanks for the comment and suggestions. You're one of the few people I've heard criticize Good to Great. Could you elaborate?