Season 5, Episode 2 of the FocusED School Leadership Podcast with Guest Todd Kashdan

by | Oct 26, 2023 | 0 comments

6 min read

Using the Art of Insubordination as a School Leader with Guest Todd Kashdan 

This is Season 5, Episode 2 of FocusED, and it features our guest, Dr. Todd Kashdan. It was originally recorded in front of a live audience in Delaware and provided as a professional development experience in collaboration with the Delaware Department of Education, Wilmington University, and The School House 302. Don’t miss what Dr. Kashdan has to say about The Art of Insubordination, how to be more accepting of divergent ideas, and so much more.


Dr. Todd Kashdan Brings a Tons of Experience to FocusED Listeners


Dr. Todd B. Kashdan, Ph.D., is a Professor of Psychology at George Mason University, a leading authority on well-being, psychological flexibility, curiosity, courage, and resilience. 

He has published over 250 peer-reviewed articles, and his work has been cited over 45,000 times. He received the Distinguished Faculty Member of the Year Award from George Mason University and the Distinguished Scientific Award for Early Career Contributions from the American Psychological Association. 

He is the author of Curious? And The Upside of Your Dark Side, and his latest book is The Art of Insubordination: How to Dissent and Defy Effectively. 

His writing has appeared in the Harvard Business Review, The New York Times, National Geographic, and Fast Company, among other publications, and his research is featured regularly in media outlets such as The Atlantic, The New York Times, NPR, and Time Magazine. 

He’s a twin with twin daughters (plus one more) and has plans to rapidly populate the world with great conversationalists.



FocusED Show Notes with Dr. Todd Kashdan

The reason that Todd wrote the book is because of the negative connotation that comes with speaking up at work. 

The reason that we want dissension is to make superior decisions. It might be slower and more uncomfortable, but it makes for a better outcome. 

As we open up to dissension, we’re asking people to challenge the status quo. 

Don’t miss what Todd says about conformist thinking and what happens when we don’t provide a platform for diverse thinking. 

Todd brings up the mixed research on diversity and the fact that diverse thinking works better for decision-making, but most organizations don’t have a good way to ensure diversity. 

Listen to what he says about creating meetings and classroom norms to encourage independent thinking. “It takes a modification of the group norms.” 

We were reminded of Liz City’s advice when he talked about collecting information before meetings as a new norm. 

You want to hear what he says about how we have to treat “minorities of one” to make sure that they feel comfortable sharing. “I brought you into this organization because of your unique background.” 

Make sure people know that you respect their views even though you might disagree on everything. 

We want disagreement about topics and issues, not relationships. 

Todd talks about learning to be clear with ourselves and transforming our thinking. What he says about “conviction bias” is fascinating. 

Todd opened up about his background and how all of our backgrounds lend to our biases. “To what degree do you represent the subculture in which you live?” 

The more ways that we can view diversity, the more likely we can bring divergent thinking into the decision-making without thinking of people as “representative” of their group. 

Todd reminds us as educators that one of the ways to deal with misconduct from students is to bring them into the forefront as leaders. The same is true for adults and co-facilitations. 

We have to tell people why we’re amplifying ideas that deserve consideration, especially when they’re divergent. 

Todd wants to improve the student experience in schools by improving their sense of belonging. Don’t miss what he says about distinctiveness. 

Subscribe to Todd’s newsletter. At the end of his newsletter, he posts resources, books, people to follow, and more. 

He mentions Daniel Berlyne on curiosity and aesthetic beauty

Related School Leadership Content Based on This Show

Our interview with Francesca Gino, author of Rebel Talent.


Thanks for listening to FocusED, an educational leadership podcast brought to you by TheSchoolHouse302 @, where we publish free leadership content. Go to the site, subscribe, and you’ll get all of our content sent directly to your email. 


FocusED is your educational leadership podcast where our mission is to dissect a particular focus for teachers and school leaders so that you can learn to lead better and grow faster in your school or district. Let us know who you would like to hear from next. 


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More Resources for You

Grab a Copy of One of Our Books:

Invest in Your Best: 9 Strategies to Grow, Support, and Celebrate Your Most Valuable Teachers
Click to pre-order it on Amazon

7 Mindshifts for School Leaders: Finding New Ways to Think About Old Problems.
Order it Here

Retention for a Change is an Amazon Best Seller and our Latest Book: Order it Here
Have you read Candid and Compassionate Feedback? Click here to order from Amazon.
Passionate Leadership is an Amazon Best Seller. Click here to order today.
Click here to order from Amazon.