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Responding to Resistance

Thirty Strategies to Manage Conflict in Your School

By: William A. Sommers

Acquire a set of wide-ranging techniques to decisively and efficiently address conflict with staff, students, parents, and other stakeholders. This resource can help educational leaders improve their communication skills and leadership strategies for overcoming staff resistance.

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An educational leadership guide to conflict management in the school community

Educational leadership is never conflict free. In Responding to Resistance, author William A. Sommers acknowledges this reality and presents school and district leaders with a set of wide-ranging response strategies. Whether a conflict involves staff, students, parents, or other stakeholders, this book will help you address it openly, decisively, and efficiently, so you have more time to focus on what matters most: improving learning in your school community.

  • Become familiar with five primary causes of conflict and four dangers of ignoring conflict.
  • Gain foundational communication skills for clarifying issues and defining problems.
  • Discover conflict resolution strategies for teams, individuals, and large groups.
  • Understand the research and expertise that support each response strategy.
  • Learn from realistic vignettes that illustrate common conflicts in schools and how a leader might react effectively to overcome resistance to change.

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Additional Information

Product Code: BKF955, EKF518

ISBN: 9781951075057

Published By: Solution Tree

Page Count: 152

“In this easy-to-read text, Bill Sommers, a veteran administrator and voracious reader, has captured thirty key ideas around responding to resistance. It includes vignettes readers will relate to and strategies that will both affirm and stretch. Sommers summarizes key ideas on how to work with resistance that all educators need to know. Great reminders!”

Jennifer Abrams, author of Swimming in the Deep End: Four Foundational Skills for Leading Successful School Initiatives

“I can imagine no other time in the last fifty years when educators could benefit more from a book that enables them to understand and facilitate conflict. Fortunately, we have long-time respected educator Bill Sommers to support our journey in studying and gaining new perspectives and approaches to conflict resolution. Educators will revisit this book throughout their careers when they need new strategies to support their efforts.”

Stephanie Hirsh, former executive director, Learning Forward

“Skillful leaders tap into a wide array of tactics and strategies to face change and its cousin, resistance, in their daily work. When equipped with the right tools and enough of them, leaders can turn the distress of resistance into opportunities for learning. Whether experienced in leadership or just starting, the approaches Sommers shares will easily fill a leader’s toolbox with both tried-and-true tools and new ones to update and refresh it.”

Joellen Killion, senior adviser, Learning Forward

“Dealing successfully with different kinds of conflict has become a survival skill for all educators today. Bill Sommers has written an invaluable how-to book that is a must-read for every school and district leader.”

Tony Wagner, best-selling author

“As author of this book, Dr. Bill Sommers has a lot going for him. As an educational leader, he draws on vast personal experiences; as an avid reader, he builds support for his ideas from other leading authorities; and as a writer, he communicates his knowledge with clarity and practicality. This treasure should be within easy reach on the desk of every school administrator. Administering a school is a life of conflicts. This book provides numerous user-friendly examples about how to respond to those conflicts with a sense of justice, dignity, learning, and love.”

Arthur L. Costa, professor emeritus, California State University, Sacramento

“Bill Sommers has merged his tremendous wealth of knowledge and experience as a school leader with empirical research from both education and business to produce an amazing resource of practical strategies, helpful hints, relatable case studies, and applicable models. Once again, Bill has provided aspiring, new, and veteran school leaders with a robust compendium of examples of how to manage the complexities around everyday conflict and resistance that can challenge and sometimes derail even the most talented and committed educational leaders. Bill has crafted a recipe for success!”

Karen M. Dyer, partner, On Point Leadership

“As I read through this masterful work by Dr. Sommers, I could think of a scenario for every one of his examples that I could have handled more effectively if I had only had read this at the beginning of my career. I have taken copious notes and plan to reference these strategies as I move forward. Whether you’re just getting started or a veteran leader, this book should be on your desk!”

Lindsey Pollock, principal, Garden Oaks Montessori, Texas

“Bill Sommers is the wise sage we all need in our lives. The skills, strategies, and insights he shares will profoundly change the lives of school leaders on a daily basis. Conflict will always be present in leadership. This text will equip you to manage it in the most skillful ways. This is a must-read for all leaders.”

Mike Ford, director of leadership development, Leadership for Educational Achievement Foundation, New York State Council of School Superintendents

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