Book Review

Total Leaders 2.0: Leading in the Age of Empowerment

by Charles Schwahn and William Spady, Rowman and Littlefield Education, Lanham, Md., 2010, 155 pp., $65 hardcover, $27.95 softcover

AASA veterans will, no doubt, remember Chuck Schwahn and Bill Spady from the outcome-based education wars of the mid-1990s. Total Leaders 2.0: Leading in the Age of Empowerment is a 10-years-after-NCLB update of their Total Leaders book of 1998.

A decade ago, total leaders were dynamic combinations of authentic leaders who defined purpose; visionary leaders who framed vision; relational leaders who developed ownership; quality leaders who built capacity; and service leaders who ensured support.

In 2010, they do the same things, only on steroids.

Why? According to the authors, it’s because people now expect to be engaged in meaningful work, to be in control of their workplace, to actualize their strengths and talents, and to use Web 2.0 collaboration tools and other transformative technology. In short, the world is now empowermentland.

The details are in the work of daily leadership, and the authors lay out the model’s five domains and 15 performance roles. While there is not a lot here that an experienced superintendent has not heard before, bringing these ideas together into one framework is helpful, both in implementing key actions in a district and in conceptualizing them in leadership development classes.

Reviewed by Ronald S. Thomas, associate director, Center for Leadership in Education, Towson University, Baltimore, Md.