Managing Yourself and Others During Crises: Key Leadership Visions, Approaches, and Dispositions to Survive and Thrive is about managing yourself and others during crisis situations like the recent unprecedented global pandemic that promulgated chaos in the operations of most human societies and institutions including family structures, educational procedures and practices, work relationships and settings, religious observances, governmental functions, protocols, and processes. This book provides insights based on the knowledge and experiences of practicing leadership and policy experts about keeping organizations functioning, as best as possible, during crises situations. They articulate practical approaches based on sound leadership research for ensuring that the people, things, and ideas of seminal societal institutions like education not only survive the crisis but also continue to thrive. Key leadership visions, approaches, and personal dispositions to cope with such monumental and unexpected changes are presented by chapter authors who not only studied crises situations but also personally lived through them and appropriately managed themselves and others using various comprehensive strategies, techniques, and coping mechanisms based on leadership best practices in educational organizations.
Walter S. Polka is professor of leadership and coordinator of the PhD program at Niagara University with over fifty-five years in education including thirteen years as superintendent of schools.
John E. McKenna is an award-winning educator and adjunct professor with over thirty-five years of public education experience as a teacher, building principal, and district-level administrator.
Monica J. VanHusen has been an educator for the past eighteen years and currently is the coordinator of technology integration for Stafford Virginia Public Schools.
Chapter 1. Managing Yourself During Crises: Surviving and Thriving in the Education’s Ever-evolving Open Social System of People, Things, and Ideas
Walter S. Polka and Monica J. VanHusen
Chapter 2. Transformational School Leadership: Hope and Healing During Times of Crisis
Peter R. Litchka
Chapter 3. Leadership and Sensemaking During Crises
Chapter 4. Leadership Moxie: Having the Courage, Determination, and Energy to Lead Schools During Crises and Beyond
Monica J. VanHusen
Chapter 5. Managing Others in Crises: Addressing the Personal, Professional, and Organizational Coping Needs of Educators
Walter S. Polka
Chapter 6. Rising Above the Chaos: Education Leaders and Policymaking During Crises
Chapter 7. Mindfulness Focus: A Key Crisis Management Imperative for School Leaders
Donna C. Kester Phillips and Alice A. Kozen
Chapter 8.The New Future is Up to Us: Perspectives of Managing Yourself and Others Based on Crisis Experiences
John E. McKenna, Walter S. Polka, and Monica J. VanHusen
Tak Cheung Chan and Glen I. Earthman
About the Editors and Contributors
Leadership strategies and approaches during crises is a nearly universal aspect of educational leadership. The chapters that make up Managing Yourself and Others During Crises: Key Leadership Visions, Approaches, and Dispositions to Survive and Thrive do not simply discuss this topic; they use compelling and innovative narratives and data to examine the benefit of prescribed approaches needed during a crisis. Readers will find this engaging book both informative and provocative.
Recent events have shown that communities look to school leaders as beacons for hope, trust, and guidance during times of confusion and turmoil. In Managing Yourself and Others During Crises, McKenna, Polka, and VanHusen address the components of exactly this type of effective school leadership. Importantly, the focus is first on how leaders can prepare and enhance their own leadership approaches, and then turns to how to utilize them to support others within the educational setting. As educational settings are restored following recent disruptions, this book provides a roadmap for school leaders that will enable the strong vision, forward thinking, and establishment of trust necessary to support students at a time where these supports are needed most. This is an essential read for all school leaders working to shepherd their faculty, students, and families out of the turmoil and toward growth and success.
No one gets through life unscathed, so during any crisis it’s important to look for hope, while at the same time, gain an understanding of how the challenges we face during the crisis lead to growth. Managing Yourself and Others During Crises: Key Leadership Visions, Approaches, and Dispositions to Survive and Thrive does just that. Every chapter provides insight and practical guidance for readers to use during the pandemic and the next set of challenges they face.
In a world that is dynamic, interconnected, and complex, leaders face challenges, obstacles, and uncertainties—and managing the unexpected becomes a vital part of their roles. Yet, while some leaders are successful in thriving despite crisis moments, others fail to do so. By analyzing how leaders’ self-management and their management of others helps overcome crises, this book can serve as a vital resource for organizations that need to maintain function, culture, and structure when confronted with the unexpected.
This is not just another book on transformational leadership! In order for school leaders to be prepared to address crises, they need independence, meaningful collaboration, and a shared conviction to empower the community to address issues as smoothly as possible while providing opportunities for actual change. Many leaders have been faced with crises through weather, violence, and now the pandemic. Today’s educational leaders are aware that in order to address crisis situations they need to gather all of their leadership skills to design a system that utilizes all resources to offer hope and healing.
InManaging Yourself and Others During Crises, readers will find activities designed to build collective efficacy in the school community and foster leadership and interdependence among staff and community; theories of action to focus team efforts and how to create strategies for opportunities to change; and resources to help define desired outcomes and steps necessary to get there. This book will help educational leaders reflect about the survival value and organizational sustainment of employing the elements of visionary leadership using an optimistic mindset, a collective commitment to improvement, and a shared process for hope and healing in order to nurture greater impact together as a community.
For those finding themselves between the theoretical and practical, managing and leading, or facing what appears to be the impossible, Polka, McKenna, and VanHusen offer readers an authentic perspective for those charged with leading during a crisis. From Columbine to COVID, this book frames moments of crisis through a practitioner’s lens providing a blueprint to challenge our thinking, dispositions, and actions. Illuminating the tensions of mindset shift from surviving to thriving positions provides readers with a sense of hope and confidence for the next unexpected moments they encounter.
The advent of COVID-19 in the spring of 2020 plunged educational institutions into a crisis mode to be dealt with by all school leaders, whether superintendents or college presidents. This was not the first educational crisis, nor will it be the last, requiring visionary leadership. Managing Yourself and Others During Crises: Key Leadership Visions, Approaches, and Dispositions to Survive and Thrive is a must-read for school leaders who truly believe quality leadership during a crisis is crucial and who are seeking information on the development of crisis problem-solving and strategic strategies to move their schools toward a “preferable” future. This book ties together theory, advice from educational experts, and practical recommendations to provide school leaders a resource for when they face their own time of crisis.
This book is exactly what educational leaders need right now. Not only are leaders at all levels of education facing various crises related to the global COVID-19 pandemic, but many are facing other crises related to political unrest that filters into school boards and schools, teachers quitting the profession at an alarming rate, gun violence, and funding or budgetary issues. The authors of the chapters in Managing Yourself and Others During Crises go beyond generalized and overused leadership tropes to provide insightful research-based information and direction. I appreciated that they included the importance of educational leaders demonstrating moxie and engaging in mindfulness during crisis leadership in micro, macro, and mega contexts. Throughout the entire book are examples of how visionary leaders can rise above the chaos to implement change when needed, as related to the possible, probable, and preferable futures they face. Reading this book can help educational leaders learn to not only survive crises, but thrive, all while guiding others through it.
Managing Yourself and Others During Crises: Key Leadership Visions, Approaches, and Dispositions to Survive and Thrive is a playbook for leaders navigating perhaps the most difficult times facing educators. The editors provide guidance on how to lead with a mindset of hope and optimism and have the grace and wisdom to point readers toward a proactive leadership stance to instill a sense of purpose and passion that will shore up the resolve of those they lead.
The authors provide a timely framework for leadership during a crisis, whether current or future. Managing Yourself and Others During Crises provides logical and research-based strategies to manage a crisis in a manner that will inspire confidence and promote widespread support. The authors identify intentional leadership practices designed to improve organizational capacity to not only survive a crisis, but to thrive in unanticipated circumstances.
After reading Managing Yourself and Others During Crises: Key Leadership Visions, Approaches, and Dispositions to Survive and Thrive, the famous quote by John F. Kennedy comes to mind, ‘The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word ‘crisis.’ One brush stroke stands for danger, the other for opportunity. In a crisis, be aware of the danger—but recognize the opportunity.’ The intent of Kennedy’s statement was to promote perseverance through the multitude of crises that were unfolding all over the world to his young listeners in 1959. This book does a great job capturing key leadership examples in managing oneself and others through crises, which promote perseverance. In fact, the Matrix of Eight Essential Leadership Elements for Navigating Crises found in the appendix is a valuable tool in understanding key leadership concepts. I highly recommend this book to all current and aspiring leaders.