• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

“The last thing a principal needs is more stress! This book helps build skills that will ensure that challenging conversations go the way they should—toward resolution and peace.”

—Beth Madison, Principal

George Middle School, Portland, Oregon

Direct difficult discussions toward successful outcomes every time!

For every principal who has ever wished for a quick reference guide to keeping challenging conversations on course, the ideal tool is here! Inside are all the skills you need for navigating high-stakes interactions with staff, parents, students, and district leaders, and steering them toward win-win solutions. Case studies throughout the book identify the risk areas and provide the steps to mastering techniques for: Active listening; Assertive communication; Providing effective feedback; Staying calm; Problem solving; Mediation

Also included are scripts, sample dialogues, style inventories, checklists, and resources for practicing skills learned from the case studies. Like having a communications coach in your back pocket, this guide gives tips for building a collaborative culture focused on what matters most—working together to achieve student success.

Introduction—Dimensions of Challenging Conversations
Introduction—Dimensions of challenging conversations
What Is a Challenging Conversation?

In simplest terms a challenging conversation is defined as an interaction between two or more parties characterized by

  • elevated emotional intensity,
  • differing viewpoints, and
  • perceived high stakes for at least one of the parties.

“Emotional intensity” can refer to the discomfort, anxiety, or even fear that one or more of the parties experience as they engage in the conversation. Emotional intensity might also refer to the anticipation and excitement that comes from having intense, meaningful professional dialogue with others. It is these edgy conversations ...

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