High Challenge, Low Threat: How the Best Leaders Find the Balance

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9781909717862: High Challenge, Low Threat: How the Best Leaders Find the Balance
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High Challenge, Low Threat is Mary Myatt's smart and thoughtful exploration of all the things that wise leaders do. Informed through thousands of conversations over a 20-year period in education, Mary shows the lessons that school management teams can learn from leaders in a wide range of other sectors and points to the conditions which these leaders create to allow colleagues to engage with difficult issues enthusiastically and wholeheartedly.

This book makes the case that any leadership role is concerned primarily with the relationships between individuals. It is the quality of these, whatever the size of the organisation, which make the difference between organisations which thrive, and those which stagnate.

This is not to argue for soft, easy and comfortable options. Instead it considers how top leaders manage to walk the line between the impossible and the possible, between the undoable and the doable, and to create conditions for productive work which transcend the difficulties which come towards us every day. Instead of dodging them, they embrace them. And by navigating high challenge, low threat, they show how others how to do the same.

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Review:

Mary Myatt's new book is a treasury of leadership wisdom and guidance for everyone working in schools today. She provides the antidote to negative, fear-based, toxic leadership by describing ways in which healthy, people-focussed, positive, effective, appreciative and collaborative leadership can arise. Her powerful synthesis of complex leadership concepts and best-practice examples makes this a must-read book for anyone wanting to be an outstanding leader without sacrificing their values, good health and professional passion. --Dr Lynne Sedgmore CBE, Leadership coach and consultant, ex Chief Executive of 157 Group, Centre for Excellence in Leadership and Guildford College within UK Further Education. Named in Debretts 2015, Women of Spirit UK 2016.

In this fascinating and eminently practical collection of ideas, Mary Myatt has managed to perfectly capture the essence of what makes successful organisations: high quality engagement from everyone involved. But her vision isn't just one of well-being and comfort. With bags of practical examples from the worlds of education and business, she demonstrates how personal growth and discretionary effort come from productive support and helpful challenge which build on trust and a shared set of values. Conversations are always about how things can be better: better for people; better for the organisation. Written in an accessible and engaging way itself, the book itself is a great example of exactly the type of healthy conversation she espouses. --Andy Buck, Managing Director, Leadership Matters

High Challenge, Low Threat is an incredibly persuasive, thoughtful and authoritative book about trust, vision and humanity in schools. Mary Myatt has pulled together hundreds of stories from her own experiences and those of others to create a powerful and astute series of lessons about great leaders in the school community. Drawing on examples from a huge range of influential figures, Myatt convincingly argues that excellence and consistency does not have to come at the expense of values, and that success comes from embracing a school's heart and soul. If you re looking for leadership-wisdom, rather than leadership-jargon, then Myatt's High Challenge, Low Threat is the book for you. This is a vital and necessary book. --Toby French, teacher, blogger (@mrhistoire), author (Show and Tell: One Year in a Secondary School - published by John Catt Educational, Summer 2016)

About the Author:

Mary Myatt has been teaching and advising in schools for 20 years. She is blogs and provides resources for school improvement at http://marymyatt.com/

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