The Administrator’s Reading List

David Boren offers three book recommendations for current and future administrators

The Multiplier Effect: Tapping the Genius Inside Our SchoolsLiz Wiseman, Lois N. Allen, Elise Foster (2013)

This little gem of a book is a quick read but jam-packed with great leadership principles. The primary premise of the book is that traditional leaders tend to rely primarily on their own intelligence, talent, and experience in making decisions to improve the organization. Multiplier leaders tap into the collective intelligence, expertise, thought, and experience of everyone within the organization. One of my favorite chapters is about accidental diminishers; in thischapter the authors point out how we as principals sometimessuck the life out of our teachers, parents, and students. Luckily, the authors also provide a lot of practical suggestions about how to overcome these tendencies and how to become a multiplier principal. Liz Wiseman, the primary author, was voted as one of the top ten most influential leadership thinkers in the world and is a BYU graduate! I wish I had read this book before becoming a principal.

Positive Leadership: Strategies for Extraordinary Performance

Kim Cameron (2012)I ran across this short book last summer after attending a conference on positive leadership and have been addicted ever since. The primary premise of the book is that we grow much more by studying and understanding what works than by studying what doesn’t work. What is already working in our organizations and how can we capitalize on those things to address areas that need further strengthening? Rather than study what most other average organizations are doing, let’s identify positive deviants, those individuals and organizations that are getting extraordinary results in extraordinary ways. What are they doing? How are they doing it? Cameron highlights and gives recommendations in four specific areas that seem to crop up in high-performing, positive organizations: climate, relationships, communication, and meaning. This book is not fluff. Its claims are backed up by ample and well-grounded research. Kim Cameron is also a BYU graduate and is one of the top thinkers in the field of positive organizational leadership. My wife and I have used this book in our family, and it would be a great support to any principal.

Deeper Learning: Beyond 21st Century Skills

James A. Bellanca—Editor (2015)

This book is not a quick read but is loaded with a lot of ideas that will push school leaders to the next level in their own thinking. A primary premise of this book is that the world needs not only students that have mastered content knowledge at deep levels but students that also have the skills and dispositions to adapt that knowledge to the changing twenty-first-century landscape. In the past, schools have primarily focused on the mastery of content knowledge. This book offers some great arguments for why schools should also focus on skills and dispositions and how these multifaceted aims of schools are mutually reinforcing. Because this is an edited book, readers benefit from the diverse perspectives of an array of experts in this area. This book covers twenty-first-century skills and dispositions, problem-based learning, deeper learning for teachers and leaders, assessment, and the change process. A great read for any innovative educator.

Writer: David Boren

Contact: Cynthia Glad (801) 422-1922