Getting From Here To There: Reflecting On Leadership In Changing Times


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Presented at the 2013 British Columbia Library Association annual conference in Richmond, BC May 10, by Julie Mitchell, Managing Librarian, Chapman Learning Commons, UBC Library.

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Getting From Here To There: Reflecting On Leadership In Changing Times

  1. 1. Getting from Here to ThereReflecting on Leadership in Changing TimesMichelle MalletteUniversity of British ColumbiaJulie MitchellUniversity of British ColumbiaAnne OlsenVancouver Public Library
  2. 2. Overview•  Changing Landscape•  Approaches to leadership•  Leveraging leadership strengths duringchange
  3. 3. Changing Landscape
  4. 4. Changing Landscape• Libraries are currently operating in times ofintense change• External factors putting pressure on ourorganizationso Changing demographics and communitieso Rapidly changing technology and rapidadoption of new technologieso Uncertain economics and austerity budgets
  5. 5. Changing Landscape• External pressures are contributing to internalchangeso Reviews, reflection, reorganization,restructuringo New competencies expected
  6. 6. Changing LandscapeCompetencies in jobdescriptions 10-15 yearsago:ResourcesCataloguingBibliographic controlDetailSpecificityRules and proceduresBooks and physical objectsEmphasis on transactions
  7. 7. Changing LandscapeCompetencies in jobsnow:CollaborationRelationship buildingCommunicationTransparencyEvidenceComfort with ambiguityInitiativeFlexibilityAdaptabilityEmphasis on interactions
  8. 8. Changing Landscape• Responding to changeo Resistanceo What causes people to resist: uncertaintyor fear… of the unknown… of failure… of commitment… of disapproval… of success
  9. 9. Changing Landscape• Responding to changeo Reflect on and take control of how yourespond to changeo Proactive rather than a reactive responseo Focus on your sphere of influenceo Tools to give you control and put you in thedrivers seat of change
  10. 10. Changing Landscape
  11. 11. Changing LandscapeQuestions for ReflectionWhat is changing in your workplace right now?How are you responding to this change?Would you consider yourself reactive or proactive?How are others around you responding to thechange?
  12. 12. Approaches toLeadershipWhat are my leadership strengths?
  13. 13. Approaches to Leadership“Leadership seems to be the marshaling ofskills possessed by a majority but used by aminority. But it is something that can belearned by everyone, taught to everyone,denied to no one.”- Bennis & Nanus, 2003, 25
  14. 14. Approaches to Leadership•  Who first comes to mind when you think of aleader?•  What characteristics make them leaders?
  15. 15. Approaches to Leadership•  Playing to strengths versus leading byimitation•  Most effective leaderso  Surround themselves with the right peopleo  Maximize their teams•  Best leaders not well-rounded, best team are
  16. 16. Approaches to Leadership“Without awareness of your strengths, it isimpossible to lead effectively”- Rath and Conchie, 2008,10
  17. 17. Approaches to Leadership•  How do you determine your strengths andthe strengths of your team?•  Self-Awareness Toolso  Myers-Briggs Type indicatoro  Parker Team Player Surveyo  Success Insightso  StrengthsFinder
  18. 18. Approaches to Leadership•  StrengthsFindero  34 talent themeso  5 themes emergeo  Achiever, Developer, Learner, Futuristic,Restorative•  Recommendations foro  Leading with these strengthso  Leading others with these strengths•  Emphasizes the team based approach toleadership
  19. 19. Approaches to Leadership•  Universally important skill to leadership•  Listeningo  Seeking to understand before beingunderstood•  Critical to success in teams and during timesof intense change
  20. 20. Approaches to LeadershipQuestions for ReflectionWhat do you consider to be the strengthsyou bring to the workplace?Think of two colleagues you work withregularly. What do you see as theirstrengths?
  21. 21. Leveraging LeadershipStrenghts
  22. 22. Time To Raise Your Hand If ....•  You work with children or teens•  You use online resources for providingreference service•  You have ever used a print index (CanadianPeriodical Index, for instance)•  Youve never used a card catalogue as alibrary worker•  Your library has (some or all) closed stacks
  23. 23. Four Key Moments of Change•  1903 Vancouvers Carnegie Library•  1978 Dallas Public Library•  1966 Dialog•  1911 Victorias flagship library
  24. 24. The Pencil Dater, from Milwaukee Public Library. Price in 1890 – 75 centsAnd one from Faye Geddes, Raymond Public Library (AB). Priceless!
  25. 25. Days before Automated CirculationBurnabys Kingsway Branch, 1960s. Courtesy Burnaby Public Library
  26. 26. • Children in the library, open stacks,computers at the reference desk ....• How were these changes likely received bylibrary workers of the day?Leadership in Changing Times
  27. 27. Leveraging Leadership Strengths•  How do we identify own and team strengths?•  How do we leverage these? Why?•  Requires shift in our behaviour and thinking•  Engaging with change
  28. 28. Engaging with Change•  Being a Partner in the Change•  Opposite = Disconnected•  Actively engaging
  29. 29. Ask Yourself This ...How Do I Have to Be Different Now?Disengaged,DisconnectedEngaged withColleaguesEngaged withProfession
  30. 30. Becoming Engaged with Change• Where are you now?• Where do you want to be?• How will you get there?
  31. 31. Engaging with ChangeFinal Questions for ReflectionYou’ve identified changes in your library, andidentified some strengths. How might you nowlook at those changes?What specific strengths are you bringing to oursituation and the situations your organization isfacing? What are your colleagues bringing?What one thing can you do Monday morning torespond positively to this change?
  32. 32. ReferencesBennis, Warren G., and Burt Nanus. Leaders: The Strategies for TakingCharge. New York: HarperCollins, 2003. Print.Davis, Winifred. School Library Routines Visualized. Madison, WI: LibraryResearch Service, Division of Demco Library Supplies, 1948. Digital edition.Available at Hathi Trust.Davidson, H.E. and T. Parker. Classified Illustrated Catalog of the LibraryBureau: A Handbook of Library and Office Fittings and Supplies. Boston:Library Bureau. 1890. Digital edition. Available at Hathi Trust.Rath, & Conchie, Barry. (2008). Strengths-based leadership: great leaders,teams, and why people follow. [Books24x7 version]. Available from <>.Photo of circulation desk at Kingsway Branch courtesy of Deb Thomas,Burnaby Public Library.Photo of pencil dater courtesy of Faye Geddes, RTom aymond Public Library.
  33. 33. Contact usMichelle Mallettemallette@science.ubc.caJulie Mitchelljulie.mitchell@ubc.caAnne