Book Review

Lead, Follow, or Get Out of the Way: How to Be a More Effective Leader in Today's Schools

Reviewed by Rene Townsend
Professor of Educational Leadership,
California State University San Marcos


Lead, Follow, or Get Out of the Way by Robert D. Ramsey is an excellent resource for aspiring and practicing administrators.

His work contains common-sense advice in areas of interest to every school leader, including perennial issues such as school politics, communications and ethics.

The information is relevant, the philosophy inspiring, and the lists of advice useful as teaching, reference and review points. Every section contains key elements of critical leadership concepts, strategies and processes. However, it is not as it claims to be the only book one needs to be a leader. There is no substitute for the in-depth learning, experience and understanding required to lead a strategic plan or major change process or even to respond to the press in a crisis situation.

School leaders can benefit by taking stock of their own beliefs and reflecting on their actions based on Ramsey’s ideas. Equally valuable are his reminders about maintaining a perspective in the face of daily challenges, particularly in the chapters titled "Dealing With Setbacks" and "Getting the Most Out of People."

(Lead, Follow, or Get Out of the Way: How to Be a More Effective Leader in Today's Schools, by Robert D. Ramsey, Corwin Press, Thousand Oaks, Calif., 1999, 219 pp.with index, $22.95 softcover)