Great School Leaders Find Opportunity in Crisis

by | Jul 20, 2022 | 0 comments

7 min read

Leaders are Readers

Learning and growing as a school leader through reflection, training, and experience is a professional choice. One powerful way to improve is through reading great books, which is why we feature a couple of books on a particular topic each month. These are books we enjoy and believe are worth reading. 

Our aim is to link great books to our theme for the month. This month we are focused on school leaders recognizing the opportunity within a crisis. We know how incredibly challenging this can be because every issue brings with it the fact that it also dominates everyone’s mental energy, which means that looking for opportunity in the very moment that you’re trying to solve a problem can be daunting. However, the crisis itself may be our only chance to think differently to not only solve the problem at hand but also determine what advantages may arise during the situation that can be applied in the future. Because this type of thinking is necessary during a crisis, we chose these two powerful books this month. Common with John Maxwell books, they offer sage advice coupled with practical skills. Great leaders don’t just read books to gather tips and steps for how to lead but also the style of thinking required to lead better and grow faster. Great leaders are heavy readers and deep thinkers. 

Joe’s Pick: Good Leaders Ask Great Questions

Featured Author: John Maxwell

If you’re going to lead effectively, you have to be able to ask great questions. This book presents questions in two different ways. First, it starts with questions that the leader should ask in various situations. Maxwell lists great questions that can get a conversation started even if you don’t know where or how to begin. 

We can’t stress enough how important it is to have canned questions to lean on. Asking great questions to get to the root of a problem is hard, and this book offers several gems. Second, the book details many of the questions that Maxwell has been asked as a leader. The insight into his thinking is powerful and will help any leader consider the various ways to navigate difficult situations. 

T.J.’s Pick: Failing Forward: Turning Mistakes into Stepping Stones for Success

Featured Author: John Maxwell

This book confronts success head-on and why some people achieve it and others don’t. The difference between triumph and failure is a question that many people wonder about and Maxwell offers the answer–response to adversity. He starts the book with a compelling concept from J. Wallace Hamilton who argues that people generally train to be successful while they should be training for failure. And, in typical Maxwell fashion, he illustrates his point through great stories, kicking it off with Mary Kay Ash.

If you are going to lead you are going to have problems. It’s inevitable. Effective leaders not only understand that conflict is necessary but they learn how to thrive amid adversity as they seek to make a change. It means that great leaders are willing to fail forward as they make things better. It’s what Seth Godin says about leadership: leaders are the ones who are willing to do something that might not work. This is a book that won’t disappoint, and every school leader should read it. 

Technical Tip for Leaders Who Read

We close every Read This Series with a technical tip. This month’s tip is to read the same author’s books in succession. There are very prolific authors with incredible insight into topics and very often there are similar ideas and thoughts presented with just a slight variation on the theme. These subtle differences can offer unique connections from which leaders can benefit in a way that doesn’t happen when you only read one book that the author published. This means that when you commit to one book by an author, you should consider reading two or three in a row. 

Enjoy both of these books to lead better and grow faster as school leaders. We always appreciate a like, a follow, a comment, or a share. 

Let us know what you’re reading by contacting us at And don’t miss our leadership newsletter every week by subscribing on the site. 


We can’t wait to hear from you. 


Joe & T.J.

Let us know what you’re reading by contacting us at And don’t miss our leadership newsletter every week by subscribing on the site. 


We can’t wait to hear from you. 


Joe & T.J.

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