Book Review

Balancing Leadership and Personal Growth

by Christa Metzger, Corwin Press, Thousand Oaks, Calif., 2006, 143 pp., $30.95 softcover

The senior education administrator today works in a complex and demanding world requiring a continuing fitness and development of what is best described as a balanced life.

The author of Balancing Leadership and Personal Growth: The School Administrator’s Guide, Christa Metzger, has researched what it is that administrators do to preserve and enhance their public self and inner life. From personal experience, she knows the impact of stress and a failure to respond positively to it.

Metzger, who spent 10 years as a superintendent before joining the faculty at California State University, Northridge, says her goal for this book is to provide guidelines for creating a healthy balance between the personal and the professional lives of the administrator. She believes a secondary effect of achieving this balance will be the retention of more good leaders and the encouragement of more professionals to join the ranks.

Her book is a compendium of suggested practices for administrators. They are not prescriptive and readers may select any that appeal and apply them to a particular situation. The author emphasizes that crises and boredom from routines can have similar effects. The reader is asked to assess personal circumstances and then look for application of techniques.

A major theme of Balancing Leadership and Personal Growth is learning how to take time for personal growth. The author asks readers to recognize that a great variety of strategies can provide additional personal time and enhance organizational skills. She introduces a series of methods for building physical strength and creative and spiritual strength. She believes the use of these will lead to a more productive and fulfilling personal and professional life.

Reviewed by Frank Kelly, executive director, Canadian Association of School Administrators, Oakville, Ontario, Canada