The Casual Librarian

My thoughts and opinions

Making the Leap to Library Leadership – Webinar (Part 1)

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IFLA New Librarians Global Connection Webinar, was held in April 2015 through the IFLA’s New Professional Special Interest Group. Hosted by Kimberly Sweetman  (Part 1) and Eva Dahlbach (Part 2)

Kimberly begins the webinar within a small discussion about why we are interested in this webinar on Leadership, What intrigues me to know more about leadership?Leadership-Quote

For me I reflect on three areas;

  1. To understand what a leader is, the perspective of a leader, the mindset and how I could learn to become a great leader in my profession.
  2. To gain an insight into the characteristics of a leader, to research these characteristics and to see which ones I tick yes to and which ones I fear, like delegation. To sit with myself and question why I fear this aspect of leadership.
  3. Preparation for future career prospects, if roles are available and they require an element of leadership now I can be aware of my weakness and strengths going forward. I can focus on building both so that if and when an opportunity comes my way I am not at a loss, that I will have a confidence to go for it and be successful.


Having good and bad leaders throughout my life has thought me alot and the most important aspect is to reflect back over these individuals and ask (1) what is it that they did? (2) what is it that I want to do?

In contrast what are the aspects of their leadership I found difficult?

Kimberly outlines some characteristics of a leader:

  • they have the bigger picture,
  • they focus on people,
  • they innovate and develop
  • they exhibit new ideas
  • they challenge the status quo
  • they continually question
  • they focus on people

This above list is very inspiring and it intrigues me to know more about how I can develop myself to become a leader. Kimberly suggests researching the various leadership skills that are out on the web and to maybe compile your own list of skills that you think you need as a leader.

For this presentation Kimberly focuses on seven skills:MBA-Leadership-Development

  1. Emotional intelligence – to be self aware, to self manage, to understand social awareness, and to understand relationship management.
  2. The bigger picture – to look at the industry you are in and understand the trends, challenges and issues that face that industry. Create a personal mission statement and ask does it reflect my organisation?
  3. Professional Comportment – this is closely linked to emotional intelligence. Some pieces of advice that Kimberly gives is: “is if someone tells you something horrible, don’t look horrified, keep balanced” this is the best advice I think I have ever heard. It is true if something goes drastically wrong on a project the first thing you do is cover your face and go “how did this happen”!!!!! Along with alot of *@&! and you can imagine the tone of voice! Secondly, listen to gossip but don’t repeat it! So So So important!
  4. Understanding the change process – here a leader is comfortable with change, however as comfortable as one might be you need to be mindful of the people around you. People will tend to take change alot slower and this needs to be added into your plan.
  5. Decision making – how do you as a leader make decisions well? Here are some key points to always think of:
    • Gather evidence from multiple sources
    • Think about all the different perspectives & consult with others to gain this perspective
    • Choose a course of action that benefits the whole
    • Evaluate your decision
    • Think about the process you use to make that decision, reflect and see what information you could have used to make an even better decision.
  6. Communication Skills – is so important, however knowing when an phone call is better than an email takes learning and a deeper understanding of people and what people are saying, some people will be more comfortable with an email and find it very intrusive if you “popped in for a chat” so knowing the person as well as the context for communication is equally as important.
  7. Innovation Skills – taken from Forbes online article leaders can learn the following:
    • Questioning allows innovators to challenge the status quo and consider new possibilities;
    • Observing helps innovators detect small details — in the activities of customers, suppliers and other companies — that suggest new ways of doing things;
    • Networking permits innovators to gain radically different perspectives from individuals with diverse backgrounds;
    • Experimenting prompts innovators to relentlessly try out new experiences, take things apart and test new ideas;
    • Associational thinking — drawing connections among questions, problems or ideas from unrelated fields — is triggered by questioning, observing, networking and experimenting and is the catalyst for creative ideas.


So with all of the above Kimberly illustrates how we can all develop a Personal Leadership Plan. This is very exciting and is something that you can reflect on daily within your workplace.

These are the following aspects that I find will help me on my journey through my PLP;

  • Finding a mentor – there are plenty on twitter
  • Form a support group – again twitter is a great place to do this
  • Research what various people list as leadership skills
  • Create a daily reading list & map out a time to accomplish this
  • Schedule time for thinking & reflection
  • Conduct a skills assessment – where do you most need to grow
  • Write a personal mission, vision and value statement

Author: siobhanmac

Loves Libraries, Books, and Sunshine!

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