If Drawn to the Fire

Submitted By:
Vincent Marchionni, Saint Ignatius School, Bronx, NY

The Leap to Leader: How Ambitious Managers Make the Jump to Leadership by Adam Bryant
Harvard Business Review Press, July 11, 2023

Adam Bryant’s newest book provides a concise leadership playbook, whether one is in education or any other field. While his examples mostly refer to the corporate world, the chapters have analogs to schools. For example, chapter two recommends that to be a great manager, one must master the basics of their current job. In a school, before one becomes an assistant principal, one should strive to be a master pedagogue. Chapter three advises on the path to promotion. In a school, this could look like a master teacher networking, seeking input from diverse audiences to improve pedagogy or classroom management, and using the resources to continue to grow and move forward. The key is simply Bryant’s opening question: “Do you really want to lead?” Is the teacher or staff person “drawn to the fire” of a problem at the school? Do they want to contribute in such a way that they take the risk of changing the structure and culture of an organization? For many good reasons, one might say, “No.” For other very good reasons, and because they see the present challenge as a chance to take a school to its next level, one might say, “Yes.” For the latter practitioner, Bryant’s book will help them navigate their next steps.

Leadership Practice