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Generative Leadership

Generative Leadership
Shaping New Futures for Today's Schools

Foreword by Senator John H. Glenn

April 2008 | 136 pages | Corwin

"Our schools need leadership that can uncover the liberating opportunities concealed within daunting challenges—this is the defining ability of American genius. This is the 'generative leadership' we come to understand so clearly in this powerful and concise volume."
—From the Foreword by Senator John H. Glenn

"A succinct and elegant synthesis of compelling ideas central to effective education and reform. The developmental path spelled out for leaders is both clear and profound."
—Geoffrey and Renate Nummela Caine, Executive Secretary and Director of Research
The Natural Learning Research Institute

A new concept of leadership for today's educational needs!

Linking brain science and educational research, generative leadership is an innovative approach that taps into an organization's collective intelligence to spur purposeful action and produce effective solutions.

This accessible resource examines the fundamental elements of generative leadership and provides tools and processes to catalyze organizational development and personal leadership growth. The authors identify four modalities of leadership—traditional, pragmatic, explorative, and generative—and outline six hallmarks that can develop an individual's generative capacity. Generative leaders view learning communities as complex, changing systems and are focused on:

  • Deepening their personal knowledge
  • Engaging in personal reflection
  • Promoting professional conversations
  • Harnessing creativity and innovation
  • Leading their organizations toward a desired future

Generative Leadership offers school and district administrators a powerful new understanding of the dynamic organizations they lead, as well as the means to unleash the talent and creative resources within their educational community.

Foreword by Senator John H. Glenn
About the Authors
1. Generativity: The First Foundational Element
Why Generative Leadership?  
Like Clockwork  
Atoms and Organizations  
Social Science Roots  
An Appreciative Eye  
Lessons From Science  
Defining Generativity  
2. Living Systems: The Second Foundational Element
Early Developments  
Enter the Engineers  
Feedback: The Missing Loops  
Complex Systems, Simple Models  
Lessons From Nature  
Attributes of Living Systems  
What School Leaders Can Learn  
3. The Brain/Mind System: The Third Foundational Element
Natural Learning  
How Learning Correlates to Structure  
Brain/Mind Basics  
Teaching, Learning, and Leading  
Implications for Leaders  
4. Generative School Leadership
Expanding Possibilities  
The Look and Feel of Generativity  
A Lens on Learning  
Leadership Modalities  
A Developmental Continuum  
The Leader's Role  
The Leader's Journey  
Situational Assessments  
10 Operational Indicators  
5. Putting Ideas Into Action: Methods and Practices to Develop Generativity
The Power of Authentic Conversation  
Ancient Lessons  
Circles at School  
World Café  
Appreciative Inquiry  
A Quick Comparison  
Getting Started  
The U-Process  
6. Catalysts for Growth: Tools and Resources for the Generative School Leader
How to Use Chapter 6  
Both/And Viewfinder  
Unpacking the Six Hallmarks  
The Modality Matrix  
Critical Visioning Web and Waterfall  
The Brain Learning Cycle  
Brain/Mind Principles and Capacities Wheels  
Generativity, Living Systems and Brain/Mind Learning: The Processes and Procedures Lens  
From the Authors' Bookshelves  

"The authors articulate complex concepts in a way that makes application understandable. This book provides a flexible framework for working with staff to create an environment where everyone experiences authentic learning and gains deep understandings."

Sandra K. Stanley, Executive Director of Instruction and Pupil Services
Warren Woods Public Schools, Warren, MI

"An excellent journey into the new world of generative leadership! The authors focus on the K-12 system, but the book has applications for every level of education, including post-secondary."

Tracy Edwards, President and CEO
Lethbridge College, Canada

"A succinct and elegant synthesis of compelling ideas that are central to effective education and educational reform. The developmental path that the authors spell out for leaders is both clear and profound. We strongly recommend this book to all those interested in improving education."

Geoffrey and Renate Nummela Caine, Executive Secretary and Director of Research
The Natural Learning Research Institute

"This powerful and passionate text is an excellent read for everyone, from those who are struggling to lead their schools to those who have been generative leaders but didn't have the voice or language to define it. A must-read for those entrusted with leading today's students and schools."

Leslie Wilson, President
One-to-One Institute

"Klimek, Ritzenhein, and Sullivan provide a useful and powerful tool for taking educational leaders from yesteryear into the future. This book is the spark that will light the fire within every educator and empower today's school leaders and those around them."

Mary Madden, Principal
Flint Community Schools, MI

"Provides a dynamic and powerful model for organizational change founded on practical, realistic principles. The generative approach enables leaders to meet the contemporary needs and complex challenges that schools face by calling on the talent, energy, and creativity of all individuals in an organization."

DiAnne Pellerin, Superintendent
L'Anse Creuse Public Schools, Harrison Township, MI

"Students need to learn how to learn. This book is a tactical presentation of how to accomplish this goal, describing an ideal environment for teachers to instill students with critical reading and thinking skills."

Kathryn Clark, Chief Executive Officer
Docere LLC

"A masterful synthesis of the most vital educational research findings and key leadership lessons of our time, presented in an engaging, accessible way. This book gives language, structures, and approaches for designing authentic learning environments that engage the vitality of those involved in any educational setting."

Chris Koenig Seguin, Art Education Department Chairperson
College for Creative Studies

"What a contribution! This book should be required reading for all aspiring school leaders."

Roberta E. Glaser, Retired Assistant Superintendent
St. Johns Public Schools, MI

"Extremely helpful for today’s educational leaders working to improve schools for tomorrow. The book is well designed for both individual study and reflection as well as for group or faculty book study."

Amy Allen, Educational Consultant
Key features
  • Consolidates visionary thinking from inside and outside education in fresh and useful ways
  • Shows leaders how to tap brain research for their schools
  • Explores learning communities and their processes as living systems
  • Invigorates leadership with fresh perspectives

For instructors

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ISBN: 9781412953023
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