Outstanding School Administrators: Their Keys to Success

By Frederick C. Wendel; Fred A. Hoke et al. | Go to book overview

8
RISK TAKING

Have you ever bragged about being able to perform some service or activity but immediately began to back-pedal when you found the person you were addressing took you up on the offer? This is part of what we found when administrators defined themselves as "risk takers." Not that they wanted to be categorized as something else; they wanted the opportunity to qualify their definition.

We were encouraged with the number of administrators who said they were risk takers. Generally those indicating some level of risk taking as an attribute of their effectiveness seemed to be bragging. It was as though they were trying to convince a group of job interviewers that they were the right person for the position, since the district obviously did not have a resident risk taker and was in dire need of one.

A consultant with Harold Webb Associates and prior superintendent in Virginia wrote that he is willing to take risks for education. He finds most of his colleagues are very conservative and traditional in their thinking. That is why he thrives on impossible situations. He is a strong believer that leaders can make a difference. His philosophy is that "everyone has twenty-four hours; some people sleep longer than others."

There are dangers in being a risk taker. You might be taking the risk by yourself. Not everyone feels comfortable being around a risk taker especially if some controversial issues threatens to heat up the environment. We found the majority of administrators who said they were risk takers clarified their position. They said they took "calculated risks." Doug Cobb (personal communication, December 31, 1991). for example, a superintendent in Wyoming said: "I am a risk taker, but I will tell you that before I take any risks, they are carefully planned. I look at the timing, people involved, and the situation so that when I do take a risk, I know

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Outstanding School Administrators: Their Keys to Success
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Introduction ix
  • 1 - Educational Philosophy 1
  • Summary 43
  • References 44
  • 2 - Values 45
  • Summary 57
  • References 58
  • 3 - Visionary Leadership 60
  • Summary 68
  • References 69
  • 4 - Institutional Leadership 71
  • Summary 79
  • References 79
  • 5 - Commitment 80
  • Summary 86
  • 6 - Interpersonal Relations 87
  • Summary 107
  • References 107
  • 7 - Innovation and Quality 108
  • Summary 127
  • References 128
  • 8 - Risk Taking 130
  • 9 - Communication 138
  • Summary 155
  • References 155
  • 10 - Selection 157
  • 11 - Personal Development and Professional Organizations 165
  • References 173
  • Index 175
  • About the Authors 182
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