Sunday, April 13, 2008

Leadership Training Update: The Sagamore

I'm back in NYC after last week's library leadership training events at The Sagamore. The picture from the last post truly didn't do justice to the landscape and scenery. Here's a shout out to Shannon and the team at The Sagamore -- thanks for making PLA and our participants feel so welcome and special! I must admit that it was cool to be back in my home-state -- where my "Ellis, like the Island" introductory joke was met with at least a chuckle!

Once again, we had some rich discussions in my enhancing project leadership sessions. We discussed the challenges of being a team of one -- library leaders who manage the shop on their own. How can you create effective teams? How do you not burnout as you balance your many responsibilities?

I typically encourage them to think broadly about their potential team members -- volunteers, board members, trustees, students, et al. In many cases, a librarian has had an "a-ha" moment about someone to approach that s/he hadn't considered before. I also suggest they tap into the passions (WOW! Factors) of others when including people on projects -- assigning tasks that they will be excited and inspired to perform. I feel I can personally relate to their stories having founded my own practice/firm.

Even in the beginning, I spoke in terms of "we," even though I hadn't really established my network of associates and consultants. It was partially to create a more established business presence; however, it also helped me personally as it motivated me to find those team members so I wouldn't be working in a vacuum (and have to keep disguising my voice on the phone -- just kidding!). That's what makes this PLA project so fun for me (aside from the fun, "rowdy" librarians *smile*) -- the great people I get to work with on a weekly basis.

In the sessions, we did acknowledge that it can be difficult to delegate responsibilities to new team members once you've found them. Why? Because we become very efficient when we're a team of one. We figure out very creative ways to keep all of those (red, rubber) balls juggling in the air. What's wrong with that? Well, nothing -- except that your new team members may have their own ideas about how to "juggle" and perform their tasks. In the sessions, we discuss how important it is to set people up to succeed, by providing the right resources, training and support. And, also by getting out of their way when necessary -- giving them permission to do it their way. Is this always easy? Absolutely not! But, true leaders know this and they accept the responsibility.

So, I'm "off" from PLA until the end of the month. I'm looking forward to our next event in Hershey. Until then, I'll be getting ready for the GLF Retreat in St. Maarten!
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