You will have to complete two reflective activities.
4. Working on Your Game Plan. Meetings with staff members present prime opportunities for educational leaders to engage in conflict management. In school meetings, however, conflict is often latent: unrecognized, “papered over,” ignored and thus denied, or simply not acknowledged. Latent conflict is almost impossible to manage productively. Therefore, a first step in managing conflict is to make the conflict manifest: Acknowledge it; get it on the table so that it can be described, discussed, and managed. A common problem in school staff meetings, however, is that people behave in tacitly agreed-on ways to prevent conflict from being acknowledged and managed. As described in this chapter, this response is ordinarily attributable to the fear of hostility.
Reflect on your own experience with staff meetings at school now that you have read this chapter. Prepare three key coaching tips that you might offer a school principal for improving the planning and conducting of staff meetings and thus incorporating conflict management strategies and tactics. Start each of your coaching tips with a specific recommended action or procedure. Then describe your rationale for recommending the action.
For example, one might recommend that the principal form an advisory group made up of staff members who will work collaboratively to develop the agendas for staff meetings. The model for doing this might very well be the Tannenbaum-Schmidt model. The rationale for this recommendation is twofold: First, empowering teachers to exercise greater influence over the meetings that they must attend will have a salutary effect in improving the climate of the meetings and thus increase consensus; second, this process will, in turn, make it easier, and more likely, that issues of conflict can be acknowledged and discussed.
Identify 10 “this I believe” kinds of statements about educational leadership and educational organizations. After each statement, write a sentence or two that explains briefly why you hold that belief.
For example, you might start out with this statement: If highly motivated teachers are important to educational excellence, then a school must have a climate that is open and growth enhancing. We think this in large part because the literature on motivation, notably Maslow’s and Herzberg’s theories, suggests that people are highly motivated by opportunities in which they can grow and mature as individuals. The research literature on organizational climate also supports the view that a growth-enhancing climate is highly motivating.