Saturday, September 10, 2011

Leading From The Stacks: Looking to others

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.

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