• 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.

Listening for Meaning
Listening for meaning

Seek first to understand; then to be understood.

—Stephen Covey (2004)

In the first two chapters a framework was introduced for organizing a challenging conversation from a random-seeming event into a focused interaction. As well, a critical path was presented that provides a script to follow through a challenging conversation. While these two elements will contribute significantly to developing a successful conversation, there is a third element that is necessary to ensure a successful conversation. In this chapter and several subsequent chapters we will consider the key interpersonal skills that will facilitate the process of working through a challenging conversation.

The word conversation is generally used to describe two or more persons speaking with each other. Rarely though is the listening aspect of ...

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