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The Principal as Leader of Challenging Conversations
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The Principal as Leader of Challenging Conversations



February 2011 | 160 pages | Corwin
Direct difficult discussions toward successful outcomes every time!

For every headteacher who has ever wished for a quick reference guide to keeping challenging conversations on course, the ideal tool is here! Inside are all the skills you need for navigating high-stakes interactions with staff, parents, students, and district leaders and steering them toward win-win solutions. Case studies throughout the book identify the risk areas and provide the steps to mastering techniques for:

- Active listening

- Assertive communication

- Providing effective feedback

- Staying calm

- Problem solving

- Mediation.

Also included are scripts, sample dialogues, style inventories, checklists, and resources for practicing skills learned from the case studies. Like having a communications coach in your back pocket, this guide gives tips for building a collaborative culture focused on what matters most—working together to achieve student success.

 
Acknowledgments
 
Preface
The Goal- Meeting the Challenge

 
Organization of the Book and Special Features

 
Who Will Benefit?

 
 
1. Introduction – Dimensions of Challenging Conversations
What is a Challenging Conversation?

 
Chat, Challenge and Crisis

 
Challenging Conversations - Sources of Challenge

 
Factors That Determine a Challenging Conversation

 
Crisis or Challenge

 
You, Your Community and Challenging Conversations

 
Challenging Conversations - Core Concepts

 
Power and Influence

 
Why Have Challenging Conversations – Some Good Reasons to Talk

 
Why We Avoid Challenging Conversations

 
Challenging Conversations and a Collaborative School Culture

 
Summary

 
Book Study Questions

 
Case Study Practice – The Principal and the Bully

 
Your Personal Case Study

 
 
2. Engaging in Challenging Conversations
A Framework for Conversations That Matter

 
Engaging in Challenging Conversations – Principles

 
Engaging in Challenging Conversations - The Critical Path

 
Summary

 
Book Study Questions

 
Case Study Practice – Cleaning Up

 
Your Personal Case Study – First Reflection

 
 
3. Listening for Meaning
Why Should We Listen? The Case for Active Listening

 
Active Listening

 
Non-Verbal Communication

 
Reframing

 
Summary

 
Book Study Questions

 
Case Study Practice

 
Your Personal Case Study – Second Reflection

 
 
4. Providing Effective Feedback
Elements of Effective Feedback

 
Barriers to Providing Effective Feedback

 
Summary

 
Book Study Questions

 
Case Study Practice

 
Your Personal Case Study – Third Reflection

 
 
5. Being Assertive
“Be hard on the problem, soft on the people”

 
Being Assertive- Techniques

 
Summary

 
Book Study Questions

 
Case Study Practice

 
Your Personal Case Study – Fourth Reflection

 
 
6. Managing Anger: Yours and Theirs
What Bugs Me? - Different Things Bother Different People Differently at Different Times

 
Some Approaches to Anger

 
Summary

 
Book Study Questions

 
Case Study Practice

 
Your Personal Case Study – Fifth Reflection

 
 
7. How Do You Respond to Challenging Conversations?
Your Conversational/Conflict Style – Who are You?

 
Conversational Strategies – Choices that We Can Make

 
Factors that Affect Strategy Choice

 
Summary

 
Book Study Questions

 
Case Study Practice

 
Your Personal Case Study – Final Reflection

 
 
8. The School Leader as Mediator - Facilitating the Conversations of Others
Why Get Involved?

 
The Mediation Process – Facilitating Conversations

 
Pre-Mediation

 
The Opening Phase

 
Resolution Phase

 
Closing Phase

 
The Promise of Mediation

 
Summary

 
Book Study Questions

 
Case Study Practice

 
 
Afterword
 
Summary – Key Concepts to Remember
 
References and Suggested Readings
 
Resources
 
Index

"The last thing a principal needs is more stress! The contents of this book will help build skills that will ensure that challenging conversations go the way they should—toward resolution and peace."

Beth Madison, Principal
George Middle School, Portland, Oregon

"This work will contribute to future administrators' success as they learn effective communication strategies for handling daily challenges and difficult situations."

Catherine Alaimo Stickney, Curriculum Coordinator
Ashland Public Schools, MA

Sample Materials & Chapters

OPC_ChallengingConversations_Preface

OPC_ChallengingConversations_Ch1


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ISBN: 9781412981156

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