Difficult Conversations by Stone, Patton, and Heen

Recommended by Vivian Troen

For those alums who are taking on teacher leadership roles I would suggest Difficult Conversations by Stone, Patton and Heen. In schools we often maintain a “culture of nice.” This may prevent teacher leaders from taking risks and giving critical feedback to colleagues regarding classroom teaching, student work etc. This book educates the reader with the pitfalls of difficult conversations and means to avoid them.

Three common crippling assumptions are highlighted:

  1. The Truth assumption: I am right, and you are wrong
  2. The Intention Invention: When the other persons intentions are unclear a common perception is that they are bad
  3. The Blame Frame: Blame the other produces disagreement, denial and little learning

The authors map a path by showing how to avoid the pitfalls when facing a difficult conversation.

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