Tuesday, February 12, 2013

On Machiavelli's The Prince and Dealing With Dissension in a School

"You must never allow disorder to develop in an attempt to avoid war, as this way you are not escaping war, but simply postponing it to your disadvantage."

-N. Machiavelli

An educational leader must confront challenges to his push for positive reform, so says Machiavelli. Change is difficult for both the leader and those for whom he serves. As I have come to know, there will be people who will resist my efforts to make research-based change that I have believed is necessary after carefully diagnosing the problems that may face a school. Any attempt to "avoid war" with resistors could have led to nothing more than an eventual conflict down the road, after the changes I intended were put in place.

The conclusion? Leaders must deal with the difficulties of conflict with people who will be unable to adapt to what is deemed to be the necessary changes for the learning community when these people make their resistance known. The fallout from not confronting these individuals could be a problem after the changes are in effect that could siphon away the important intended consequences of such change.

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