Book Review

Rethinking Leadership: A Collection of Articles

by Thomas J. Sergiovanni, Corwin Press, Thousand Oaks, Calif., 2007, 175 pp., $32.95 softcover

Rethinking Leadership: A Collection of Articles is a compendium of insightful commentaries by Thomas J. Sergiovanni, professor of education at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, over a 21-year period.

In the 1980s, Sergiovanni says he discovered that leaders were not uncomfortable with ideas like moral authority. This led him to begin a series of studies on leadership. The resulting collection focuses on what makes a good leader.

The book’s four sections cover leadership as a moral craft, developmental stages of leadership, leading the learning community and value-added leadership. Emphasis is placed on leadership style as a personal choice, consisting of three dimensions — one’s heart, head and hand.

According to Sergiovanni, moral leadership in schools is defined by (1) professional learning communities, (2) shared values, beliefs and commitments, (3) considerations of what is right and good, (4) people motivated by emotion and beliefs and (5) the professional virtue of collegiality.

Sergiovanni presents what he considers the eight basic competencies of leadership. To be successful, a leader must master the management of attention, meaning, trust, self, paradox, effectiveness, follow-up and responsibility.

Sergiovanni’s work provides a different way to think about leadership — as an individual and as a leader of leaders.

Reviewed by Janiece T. Buck, associate professor of educational leadership, Lamar University, Beaumont, Texas