Book Review                                                   Page 42-43


Working with Difficult and

Resistant Staff   


by John F. Eller and Sheila A. Eller, Solution Tree Press, Bloomington Ind., 2011, 144 pp. with index, $24.95 softcover

Most administrators have encountered resistant individuals in their organization at one time or another. Particularly now, when school improvement concepts are a necessary fact of an administrators’ professional life, these individuals need to be confronted for the school or district to move forward.

In Working with Difficult and Resistant Staff, John F. Eller and Sheila A. Eller have combined their considerable experience as teachers, principals and university faculty to produce a book on how to deal with various types of resistant people.

They identify eight categories of difficult people and offer administrators a variety of strategies to establish positive communication methods to change these resistance efforts.Archetypes include the Contrarians, the Recruiters, the Underminers, the On-the-Job Retirees, the Resident Experts, the Unelected Representatives, the Challenged and the Whiners and Complainers.

The Ellers provide specific strategies to address the negative behavior characteristic of each personality. They frequently advise principals to assess the staff members’ feelings about a colleague’s problematic conduct — for example, by holding informational gatherings and problem-solving meetings in which teachers focus on common issues and questions.

The authors expand on these examples in a series of “Questions for Reflection” after each chapter, which allow for a review of the issues discussed.

When faced with one or more negative staff members, it could be beneficial for school leaders to have the immediate help this book provides.

Reviewed by William J. Leary, professor, Ross College of Education, Lynn University, Boca Raton, Fla. 


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