Journal of Authentic Leadership in Education

Current Issue

Volume 6, Number 1
Not Gonna Go There: Avoiding Uncomfortable Conversations and the (Im)Possibility for Ethical Leadership


Educational leaders have to engage in uncomfortable conversations, particularly when dealing with ethical issues.  Yet often there is reluctance to do so, partly perhaps because they may not have developed the skills needed either through their experience or course work in educational leadership programs.  Using autoethnographic methods, this paper presents an ethnographic fiction of an uncomfortable conversation in an ethics class, which was prematurely ended by the professor.  I examine the important opportunity to develop the skills to engage in such conversations that was lost in this class.  I conclude that working through uncomfortable conversations is essential for ethical educational leaders to learn how to engage in criticalself-reflection to understand their deep unacknowledged values.

Patricia A.L. Ehrensal, Ed.D., Cabrini University