Leadership for Mortals: Developing and Sustaining Leaders of Learning
'Overall, and as one has come to expect from Fink, this is a readable text that thinks outside the box of leadership theory... I have no doubt that the text will be welcomed by many readers for an engaging style that places human interest at the heart of the discourse in the field' - Mark Brundrett, writing in Educational Management Administration and Leadership
'It is a 'must read' for those in educational leadership roles in schools, both to gain invaluable insights and to draw on a framework for individual reflection' - Professor Brent Davies, University of Hull
`I enjoyed reading this book. The combination of critical reflection of his experience in the light of relevant literature makes for a lively and thought-provoking book. I was going to say "little" book, because at times I would have liked to have read more. But on the other hand, it is the sort of book one - the academic and the leader - could read in one sitting, enjoy and come back to for some ideas. I recommend you to do so' - ESCalate
`This book provides a refreshing alternative to the rhetoric about 'superheads', and 'mavericks' that has been prevalent in some of the recent discourse about leadership. Dean Fink draws heavily upon the work of Andy Hargreaves, Michael Fullan and his own research with Louise Stoll so some of the ideas are familiar. However, what makes Leadership for Mortals interesting is the way in which he untangles the complexities of leadership by using genuine examples alongside the theory. Dean Fink's writing is accessible and his anecdotal style should resonate with his intended audience of current and prospective leaders' - LDR, The Magazine for School Leaders
`This book is a welcome antidote to the notion of school leaders as heroic figures. Dean Fink's commitment to enhancing the life chances of young people shines through the pages' - Kate Myers, Times Educational Supplement
`With great wisdom and insight, Dean Fink invites us into his leadership stories to masterfully illustrate that school leadership is no longer a person but an intricate network of 'mortals' working together to enhance learning experiences for students. They are truly leaders of learning, where commitment to successful learning for all students is the locus of their passion, perseverance and persuasion. Balanced with connections to respected leadership literature, this lucid and eloquent book will inspire current and future school leaders to reflect and develop their leadership practice to higher levels of effectiveness. An outstanding and optimistic read for all school leadership mortals, practitioners and scholars alike. I enjoyed it immensely' - David Eddy, Director, First-time Principals Programme, The University of Auckland
`Practitioners will find this book at the same time reassuring and challenging. Fink includes stories of leadership that highlight effective strategies and some approaches that have gone wrong. They are real and ring true and therefore credible and instructive' - Ken Thompson Principal, Gladstone Park Secondary College, Australia
`A great story about schools and their leaders progressing towards a knowledge driven world and the roads they choose to travel. Building sustainable communities of practice and the credible and varied examples of how the combination of leadership behaviour and enabling and disabling processes can make or break a successful school are clearly illustrated in Leadership for Mortals. A significant read for all aspirant and accomplished leaders' - - Jenny Lewis,Executive Officer, Australian Council for Educational Leaders
'Dean Fink brings together a wealth of learning from his own experience as a leader and learner to provide some powerful messages. This is a well-informed book with a strong theoretical basis but it is also personal and real, making sense of educational leadership in a way that is both profound and down-to-earth. School leaders in the UK and elsewhere will find inspiration, reassurance and challenge in this book' - Steve Munby, Chief Executive, National College for School Leadership
'Grounded in solid knowledge base and profound lived experience, Dean Fink's Leadership for Mortals provides deep insights on how ordinary practitioners could become great and sustainable leaders of learning. Fink's book is not a "quick-fix" how-to-do-it manual. It stimulates us to reflect on education leadership both as a personalized, value-laden journey and an art as well as reminds us of the imperative issues of extraordinary commitment, effort and determination in making a difference on leading students and teachers' learning. This is a must-read book for aspiring and serving leaders in the field of education' - Professor John Chi-kin Lee, Dean of Education, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
'Its style is conversational and unpatronizing, yet it makes powerful statements about the key components that contribute to successful leadership. It is always practical, and readers will come away from this book knowing they have learned something that they will be keen to try out for themselves...Readers will recognise leaders good and bad that they have come across, at times being reassured that they are getting it right and at others despairing as they identify situations in which they, too, got it wrong. Fink's writing makes it clear that leadership is not exact science! He reminds us that, although we are mortals, with good mentoring and better training our own potential has a better chance of being realised, and that this is the best way to enable our students to achieve their own potential.'
Journal of Research in International Education
Leadership in recent years has become a growth industry. Politicians demand more of it, academics decry the lack of it, and potential school leaders are deciding 'to hell with it' .....we are making the business of leadership so complicated that we seem to need John Wayne at his mythological best or Xena the Warrior Princess to run a school.
Most educational leaders are not 'heroic' but rather ordinary people who through extraordinary commitment, effort, and determination have become extraordinary, and have made the people around them exceptional. Educational leadership is more art than science; it is more about character than technique; it is more about inspiration than charisma; it is more about leading students and teachers' learning than the management of things
This resource for prospective and practising school leaders:
- motivates and inspires
- addresses the challenges of contemporary school leadership
- presents a model for leadership development, selection and succession
- challenges existing and prospective leaders to develop and live by a set of core values based on students' learning
- describes and explains the 'learnings' required by effective leaders of learning
- describes the intellectual 'tool kit' that leaders can develop
- describes the trajectories through which leaders proceed, and the 'learnings' required at each stage of the leaders evolution
- presents a template for leadership development and succession.