Book Review

Leading Every Day

by Joyce S. Kaser, Susan Mundry, Katherine E. Stiles and Susan Loucks-Horsley, Corwin Press, Thousand Oaks, Calif., 2006, 301 pp., $39.95 softcover

Change can be a difficult process. Leading change can be even more difficult. When one is the person in charge, one has to lead change through staff, groups and communities. Needless to say, that’s a major challenge.

Our jobs in school district leadership often depend on just how we manage change to attain results. The three authors of Leading Every Day are researchers on organizational change. They present a daily format that starts with an inspiring quote, then move on to the important aspects of change and finally provide reflective questions for readers.

In the first section, titled “Day One,” the researchers present five elements to answer the question, “What do effective leaders do?” Then they offer data on leading change in an organization by asking the right questions.

The authors help us ask the right questions of others as we lead a community through, say, a major K-12 grade reorganization or a significant building project. These questions include: What are the characteristics of our learning community? How can we use those characteristics to our benefit? Can we use those characteristics to reach our goals? What are the norms of collaboration that contribute to group effectiveness? How do we address conflict?

Leading Every Day has enormous benefit to superintendents. School system leaders can apply these ideas to our daily work toward leading and managing change. It’s the nuts and bolts, backed by research.

Reviewed by Jerry Horgen, adjunct professor of educational leadership, St. Cloud State University, St. Cloud, Minn., and Capella University, Minneapolis, Minn.