Tony Gurr

Dealing with the DARK SIDE…

In Educational Leadership, The Paradigm Debate, Uncategorized on 12/03/2011 at 1:10 pm

In a recent post, I compared two schools of thought on management / leadership; the “my-way-or-the-highway” & the “walk-your-talk” schools.

I also used a quote from a man I like to think of as my “spirituo-leadership mentor”:

To destroy the dignity of a human being is evil. To be indifferent to the feelings of others is evil. Not to support people’s sense of self-respect is evil.  

Peter Koestenbaum

I did not quite realise how much of a “nerve” this post might touch – my in-box is still packed!

It seems that the “my-way-or-the-highway” school of thought is still “alive and well” in at least 12 countries. I won’t say which ones but I would like to ask Mohamed El Baradei one question:

Man, are you sure you really want “the job”?

There are probably more than just another 11 countries where something is not quite right in educational leadership – and remember I was also saying that the “my-way-or-the-highway” & the “walk-your-talk” schools of thought have more in common than we all might imagine.

The issue seems to be with a specific Department of the “my-way-or-the-highway” School – this is the Department of “lousy bosses” and “snakes in suits”.

This particular department offers programmes from the university’s Life-Long Learning Centre and its “bleeding edge” e-learning platform – its courses can be taken on an anytime, anywhere, “anyway-I-like” basis.

Some of its most popular courses are:

  • Educational Ignorance 101
  • Selfishness & Self-Promotion 204
  • CYA and Point-the-finger 206 (co-run with the Department of Business Administration)
  • Learning Illiteracy 301
  • Educational Marketing & Fake-it-till-you make it 405

Some of you also sent me copies of the “reading lists” provided for these courses – the best-sellers were:

  • Machiavelli’s The Prince
  • Robert’s Leadership Secrets of Attilla the Hun
  • Man’s The Leadership Secrets of Genghis Khan
  • Gabriel’s Genghis Khan’s Greatest General: Subotai the Valiant
  • Windham & Vilmu’s Star Wars: The Complete Vader
  • Kennedy’s No B.S. Ruthless Management of People & Profits: No Holds Barred, Kick Butt, Take No Prisoners Guide to Really Getting Rich (With CD)

I kid you notthese are “real books” and sadly many graduates of the “my-way-or-the-highway” school of management regard these texts as their bibles (check them out)!

Sad, really!

OK, I have to admit – I have the Windham and Vilmu!


In a “perfect world”, all our educational leaders would be “clones” of the TWO Petersone of whom also said:

If a better society is to be built, one that is more just and more loving, one that provides greater creative opportunity for its people, then the most open course is to raise both the capacity to serve and the very performance as servant of existing major institutions by new regenerative forces operating within them (The Servant as Leader – 1970)


Till then we may have to fight the Dark Side with what we have – take a look at my NEW Library: Tony’s DEALING WITH THE DARK SIDE Library

Good luck, be strong (and keep on caring) and remember there is such a thing as “Karma”!

My thanks to you all that took the time to write to me…


P.S: I “stole” this image from Alexander Kjerulf’s excellent site – Chief Happiness Officer (say “hi” to Alex when you get there)!

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