This is the second post in the series Leading From The Stacks, an examination of leadership in the library industry. It was initiated by my course Leading From Any Position.
I think it an important source for developing your own leadership philosophy is to look to those who've come before you. I have always been a great fan of In The Library With The Lead Pipe, a collaborative, peer reviewed library blog whose contributors always seem to have their fingers on the pulse of what is happening in library-land. Recently, Eric Frierson had an excellent post on leadership. Frierson wrote about the importance of authentic leadership, and I couldn't agree more. As I mentioned in my first LFTS post, I developed my leadership abilities at summer camp, where our biggest critics were the campers themselves. They were the first ones to detect when a cabin leader was not being themselves, giving that leader a difficult time getting his cabin to fall in line. On the flip side, campers would follow a self-confident leader to the ends of the earth and back.
Frierson also prompts a great discussion on vision. I think having a vision or a mission statement is key for effective library leaders. It's something bigger than the organization that gives it a sense of direction: a point in the distance to mark their compass and point the prow of their ship. As Frierson mentions, the vision must be imaginable, desirable, feasible, focused, flexible and focused.
I really appreciated this post, not only for it's discussion on leadership but the fact that its published by leaders in the library community.