How to energize leadership, teaching, and learning in 22 key areas

Critical Feedback and Difficult Conversations:

Selected Memo Summaries

When leaders don’t address sub-par classroom performance, students continue to get mediocre or ineffective teaching, and the school's adult culture suffers. This selection of Marshall Memo summaries discusses the importance of stepping up to the plate, the psychology of giving feedback, how to deal with toxic personalities, and strategies for difficult conversations. 

Questions to consider:
  • What makes difficult conversations so difficult?
  • How can leaders overcome the tendency to avoid giving tough feedback?
  • What makes these conversations less fraught and more productive?

Here's the table of contents:

Critical Feedback and Difficult Conversations

Stepping Up to the Plate

  1. Balancing an innovative culture with tough love
  2. Why principals avoid difficult conversations
  3. Giving and receiving feedback with grace and skill

The Psychology of Feedback

  1. Three ways feedback can be ineffective - and how to do better
  2. The importance of validation
  3. Improving on the "feedback sandwich"
  4. Defensive reactions to negative feedback

Dealing with Toxic People

  1. Stepping up with teachers who need critical feedback
  2. Dealing with colleagues who undermine the mission

Pointers for Difficult Conversations

  1. Giving negative feedback that's heard
  2. Giving feedback to someone who can't take feedback
  3. What to do in the aftermath of a difficult conversation
  4. Should principals give critical feedback while observing a class?

Professional Learning Suggestions