- Paperback: 202 pages
- Publisher: John Catt Educational Ltd (16 April 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 190971786X
- ISBN-13: 978-1909717862
- Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 0.8 x 23.4 cm
- Average Customer Review: 17 customer reviews
Amazon Bestsellers Rank:
75,862 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #62 in Books > Education Studies & Teaching > Education Management & Organisation > Administration & Organisation
- #63 in Books > Education Studies & Teaching > School Education & Teaching > Care & Counselling > Bullying & Violence
- #93 in Books > Education Studies & Teaching > Education Management & Organisation > Strategies & Policy
High Challenge, Low Threat: How the Best Leaders Find the Balance Paperback – 11 Apr 2016
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Mary Myatt's new book is a treasury of leadership wisdom and guidance for everyone working in schools today. She provides the antidote to negative, fear-based, toxic leadership by describing ways in which healthy, people-focussed, positive, effective, appreciative and collaborative leadership can arise. Her powerful synthesis of complex leadership concepts and best-practice examples makes this a must-read book for anyone wanting to be an outstanding leader without sacrificing their values, good health and professional passion. --Dr Lynne Sedgmore CBE, Leadership coach and consultant, ex Chief Executive of 157 Group, Centre for Excellence in Leadership and Guildford College within UK Further Education. Named in Debretts 2015, Women of Spirit UK 2016.
In this fascinating and eminently practical collection of ideas, Mary Myatt has managed to perfectly capture the essence of what makes successful organisations: high quality engagement from everyone involved. But her vision isn't just one of well-being and comfort. With bags of practical examples from the worlds of education and business, she demonstrates how personal growth and discretionary effort come from productive support and helpful challenge which build on trust and a shared set of values. Conversations are always about how things can be better: better for people; better for the organisation. Written in an accessible and engaging way itself, the book itself is a great example of exactly the type of healthy conversation she espouses. --Andy Buck, Managing Director, Leadership Matters
High Challenge, Low Threat is an incredibly persuasive, thoughtful and authoritative book about trust, vision and humanity in schools. Mary Myatt has pulled together hundreds of stories from her own experiences and those of others to create a powerful and astute series of lessons about great leaders in the school community. Drawing on examples from a huge range of influential figures, Myatt convincingly argues that excellence and consistency does not have to come at the expense of values, and that success comes from embracing a school's heart and soul. If you re looking for leadership-wisdom, rather than leadership-jargon, then Myatt's High Challenge, Low Threat is the book for you. This is a vital and necessary book. --Toby French, teacher, blogger (@mrhistoire), author (Show and Tell: One Year in a Secondary School - published by John Catt Educational, Summer 2016)
About the Author
Mary Myatt has been teaching and advising in schools for 20 years. She is blogs and provides resources for school improvement at http://marymyatt.com/
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So why only three stars? The short chapters may be intended to be easily digestible for those with little spare time on their hands, but they rob the book of any overall structure. Instead, we hear again and again of what "top leaders" do. A lot of anecdotal evidence is given, some apparently based on short visits, of how a top leader acts or speaks - to the extent that one starts to feel that these are a breed apart, so amazing in their insight, humanity, tact and patience that one might never aspire to their level! I'm sure MM doesn't think that, but the anecdotal approach often gives us the ideal behaviour without the context that makes it real and meaningful. The best sections of the book, such as that on student voice or community engagement, do give us more specific examples, and for me were therefore much more engaging. It would be helpful to have more acknowledgement that no one is really a top leader all the time - we are all works in progress. I am sure I would enjoy hearing MM in person, as a lot of what she says is right on the nail, but unfortunately when reading the book there is no opportunity to ask her to explain in more detail. It thus feels like a rather general pep talk, which relies a little too much on some truisms and general observations from fairly standard management texts. It would also be good to correct several typos, particularly in the section on the importance of detail.
While there is a lot of generalisation, and some of it in a very US management speak, a few lines really stand out. I particularly liked this: "sensibly leaders make the assumption that everyone is trying their best, that no one is setting out to do a rubbish job".
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