Saturday, November 12, 2011

Leading From The Stacks: Finding my voice

This is the seventh 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.

One of our class readings was the chapter "Find Your Voice" from The Leadership Challenge by Kouzes and Posner. The reading focused on the fact that authentic leadership is effective leadership. The authors offered many exercises that allowed the readers to "find their voice," and approach their organizations with a strong sense of self. One of the exercises was comprised of a list of questions. I found my self thinking about potential answers I would provide, and thought that a selection of these questions would make an excellent post for this series. Without further ado: 

What do you stand for? Why?

Uninterrupted access to Human Rights. Because every person porn on this planet regardless of nationality, race, gender, beliefs, ability, sexual orientation or economic status deserve dignity, respect and opportunity. And I count the freedom to access information and the right to information privacy as human rights.

What do you believe in? Why?

Sense-Making. Following in the footsteps of Brenda Dervin, I believe that information seeking behavior is an individual attempting to add meaning to their experience.  And I feel that this is the foundation of what librarians do: whether it is finding a good book, writing a term paper or finding services and resources, we assist individuals in their process of adding meaning to their experiences.

What are you discontent about? Why?

I am discontented about how current changes in communication technology are affecting the information management industry. Will google searches leading seekers to "good" information? Will we be able to archive digital communication for posterity?  Will politicians claim the internet is why we no longer need to fund libraries? I also feel that these changes are creating new opportunities for librarians to insert their reliance as an important community resource. 

What brings you suffering? Why?

Powerful people, organizations, institutions and governments denying rights, dignity, opportunity and respect to those who are not as powerful. Because it's not fair. While I recognize that life is not fair, we don't need those on top to make it any less fair for everyone else.  

What makes you weep and wail? Why?

Library closures. Denying marriage rights. Environmental degradation. Obtuse and hypocritical politicians. Animal cruelty. Any and all forms of bullying. Because I am a die-hard liberal. 

What keeps you awake at night? Why?

Fear. Specifically I fear that I will succumb to my shortcomings and  fail. I know that I am not alone in this fear, and it is perhaps more universal than we realize. While this might keep me up at night, I try and use it as a motivating factor during the day.

What's grabbed hold and won't let go? Why?

Social networking, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, blogging. Because sharing equals caring. 

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