Literature: Leading from Any Chair: The Art of Possibilities


Wk 3 Reading: The Art of Possibility Chapters 5 -8
As i have said before, I find moments where I agree with the text, and moments where I disagree.
But I really enjoyed the chapter on “Leading from Any Chair” the most. While in other chapters I found myself agreeing with parts of a chapter, but not others or even the majority, here I found myself agreeing for much, if not all of this chapter.

I really liked his image/example of a conductor, in making the point.

Luigi diamanti /

This seance especially struck me that “….but his [the conductor’s] true power derives from his ability to make other people powerful.”

While it applies acutely to the example of a conductor, this idea can really be applied to anyone in a position of authority, and especially management.

As many grumbling employees in any position may attest, managers themselves don’t always do a lot. It’s often the employees below that do the “grunt” work (hence the term). But, a mangers “power” resides in his ability to empower those below him or her and inspire them.

I appreciate the idea of the “White sheet”, and wish more working environments used them and used them *honestly*, where employees aren’t afraid to give feedback.

Also by offering others the ability to provide feedback, and contribute, they feel like they “own” part of the conversation, business, practice, etc. When people have that sense of ownership, they do strive to do and be better.

And I think that should be the focus of any leader; to encourage others to become their leaders in their own right, and to constantly strive to be better.

This also ties into the 8th “practice”/chapter of giving way to passion. We as educators, and leaders, have the ability, and maybe even the responsibility to inspire and promote the spark of passion in our students, and even each other as fellow educators. I like, and agree with the idea that just as important it is to “find” one’s passion, it’s equally important to continue to nuture it, lest one becomes numb and forgets the purpose… or, as it is more eloquently stated:

“Like the person who forgets he is related to the waves in the sea or loses continuity with the movement of win through grass, so does the performer lose his connection to the long line of the music when his attention rests solely on perfecting individual notes and harmonies.”
The Art of Possibility, Zander and Zander, pg 116.

It is so easy to lose sight of the larger picture and your bigger goal, when you get stuck in the mundane, repetitive tasks that are required for that larger picture. I agree it’s important to remember and get back in touch with that initial passion… however, I feel the chapter/author is lacking and disappointing in helping the reader to understand or find realistic ways to actually get back in touch with that passion.

This book, ironically, has a lot of potential, but falls short in the worst places I think.

There are many examples, anecdotes and stories of experiences and elegantly worded passages, but not always a lot of practical sense or advice.

Perhaps I need to read it again.


As usual, you an I seem to be on the same wavelength. I understood a little better how Mr. Zander manages to be so full of himself after watching the video that Prof. Bustillos posted this week.

Zander is indeed a passionate and charismatic speaker, and my incredulity at his comment that the headmistress of a Catholic girl’s school should write to tell him that “Beyond The Fuck It” had become her school’s unofficial motto, faded as I watched him gesticulate and shout.


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