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Posts Tagged ‘Leadership’

10 ways to make yourself indispensable at your workplace, Stephen Abram

Posted by Editor on January 31, 2012

From:  Information Outlook Column (Jan/Feb. issue), Due Dec. 28, 2011

By Stephen Abram

It doesn’t work 100% of the time but you’ve probably noticed that there are some people that seem to survive every organizational restructuring.  In this latest economic downturn we’re seeing layoffs and downsizing on a scale in all sectors that most of us have never seen.  As for me, I’ve been through too many to count – survived some and didn’t make it out the other side on others.  By some counts there have been over 14 downturns in my professional career since 1978.  These swings in the economy have burnished me and, ironically, made me less dependent on employers for my self-worth or finances.  The private sector reacts to protect the whole enterprise during the business cycle and, although we shouldn’t take downsizing personally, it’s hard not to!  The public sector is arguably experiencing a major downturn with extensive layoffs for the first time in memory for many.  I was inspired recently by an article that was shared with me (from Black Enterprise: “10 ways to make yourself indispensable at work”), so I’ve adapted its 10 points for library land, but the original can be read without translation too.

Is the grapevine working overtime in your business, industry, community library, school board or institution?  What do the water cooler conversations resemble in your sector – excitement about the future or doom and gloom?  Are you seeing terrible budget debates, revenue shortfalls, business disappointments, investment or trust fund losses, or shortfalls in taxation support?  What can you do to reduce your chances of layoff?  Barring situations of collective bargaining where the rules can be prescribed, there are things you can do and should do precisely when you don’t need it right away.

Make a plan.  Assess your strengths.  Define your value, and, most importantly tend to your personal and professional network.

What tactics can you accomplish that will reduce your personal chances of layoff or prepare you better to shorten your period of unemployment?  Remember that this isn’t about protecting the ‘library’ but of communicating your value as a “librarian.”   There is a big difference!  Here are ten:

1. Take ownership of all your responsibilities by seeing your role in the context of the entire enterprise and community.  What would you increase as an activity and what would you decrease?  Employees that think strategically are more valuable than one-trick ponies.

2. Take personal responsibility for your professional development and career preparedness.  In difficult economic times no one else will quickly step up to protect you or guide your career. In times of transition, individuals must be proactive and not look to an employer to prepare them for their next job.  Indeed training and development budgets are usually one of the first to be reduced or eliminated. You might have to invest your own dollars and time in yourself for e-learning courses, training, association memberships and conferences but, still, fight to get your promised education reimbursements.  The enterprise is not your mother and bears no responsibility to your progress.   What key specific competency would make your more valuable to your current and prospective employers?   Develop it.

3. Maintain a visibly positive attitude while protecting your job.  It’s far easier for decision-makers to cut a Negative Nellie.  You aren’t the only one who’s stressed by the economy.  If you see others handling it better, model their behaviours.  No one wants to be constantly reminded of the fact that everyone is now doing 2 or 3 jobs and extended effort. . When things seem to pile up and you’re feeling stressed, take a deep breath and think that this is better for your personal physical and mental health.  It’ll also allow you to keep wok relationships friendly and positive. Be the colleague people want to have lunch or a coffee with rather than avoid.

4. Become a Renaissance person.  Yes, this means taking on extra tasks or spending personal time on events that can be great for the office culture – parties, birthdays, charity events, etc.  Learn to do new things as other people leave.  You gain new skills and you clearly increase your long-term value.  You also gain a story about how you learn and adapt for interviews. Read the rest of this entry »


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On academic leadership, from Confessions of a Science Librarian

Posted by Editor on August 10, 2011

by John Dupuis, here.

No, the purpose of this post isn’t to reveal the secrets of successful academic leadership. If I had those, believe you me I’d be writing this from my villa on the French Riviera.

However, I am heading off to the Harvard Graduate School of Education‘s Leadership Institute for Academic Librarians in Boston next week where I hope to be a least a little more enlightened and educated along that path.

Not surprisingly I’ve been watching the blogosphere these last few months for insightful posts and articles about academic leadership, in particular academic library leadership. I’ve found a few and I thought I’d share them with you.

First of all, though, I’d like to mention what the course textbook is. It’s Reframing Academic Leadership by Lee G. Bolman and Joan V. Gallos. It a very good book with both practical and theoretical approaches to leadership that I find quite interesting. What’s really useful is that is situates the challenges of leadership within the unique environment of collegial governance, the demands of research/teaching/service and a tenured professoriat/librarian complement. It’s well worth reading. I hope to get around to a more detailed review later in the summer.

Anyways, here’s some of the things I’ve found over the last little while. It’s all on the open web so I’m sure there’s lots of books and articles that would be useful that I haven’t linked to. It’s worth noting that I didn’t only look for stuff on leadership but also ideas that are useful for leaders or potential leaders. Read the rest of this entry »

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Be the change you want to see

Posted by Editor on August 10, 2011

By Meredith Farkas | August 10, 2011

Tell me if you’ve heard this one before. A librarian comes into a new job full of enthusiasm. He volunteers for lots of projects and is a generally good citizen at his library. Over time, he notices that a lot of colleagues are not so willing to volunteer to do things. Maybe they don’t seem as committed to continuous improvement as he is. Maybe they are offering the same boring lecture to students (without any subsequent assessment) that they’ve been offering for 20 years. Maybe they don’t seem to put their heart and soul into their work like he does. After a while, he begins to resent these people. He starts to think, why should I do all this when ___ and ___ don’t? Maybe he even starts volunteering for fewer projects and stops doing assessment of instruction since no one else is doing it. But doing less doesn’t make him feel better. In fact, it makes him more frustrated with himself and resentful of his colleagues for sapping his passion for his job.

I know a lot of librarians who have lived this story and I certainly understand their frustration. Probably the majority of libraries have certain staff members who rarely volunteer for anything and consistently try to get out of doing work. I’m sure it’s the case in every field. And perhaps in some libraries this is more of a problem than in others. But lowering the bar for yourself is not an answer. There is nothing more dispiriting than going against your nature in this way. Deciding to do less than your personal work ethic compels because no one else is working that hard is only going to make you feel worse. Read the rest of this entry »

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Earning the Right to Give Advice (from Stephan Abram)

Posted by Editor on June 29, 2011

Monday, 20 June 2011 Category Leadership in Ken Haycock’s Blog

I am honoured that Ken asked me to write a guest post. I decided that I’d leave the post’s focusing on authentic governance, leadership, strategic human resources management and research from a CEO and senior management perspective to Ken, and I’d share my perspectives on an issue I’ve been thinking about for a while now: the role of giving professional advice in librarianship.

As information professionals we are often asked to give advice and our professional opinion on a number of issues and projects. We recommend sources and databases. We advise on research processes. We comment on the quality and veracity of authors, serials, brands, websites, e-readers, and blogs. If we’re doing it right, we are sought out and asked for our considered opinions. . If we’re not sought after, we should identify opportunities to contribute our advice and opinions from an informed perspective. What we know and do matters a lot in this emerging knowledge economy.

The right to give advice starts with a well informed perspective. Professionals are asked for their opinions the first time because people assume their education and experience makes for better and informed judgments. Professionals are asked for their opinions subsequent times because their previous advice has been thoughtful, authoritative, respected and trusted. People earn the right to advise others because they have earned that trust.

This relationship with others is something that builds over the arc of a career or series of interactions with individuals and groups. All of these qualities can be lost in an instant with our users if we play loose with our opinions or they are not informed. That’s the quandary we face. There is a measure of risk in giving advice; risk aversion and lack of confidence inhibits developing trusted relationships quickly. Some librarians and information professionals seem to struggle with having the confidence of our opinions. That’s a problem. We must take a few risks and be informed to confidently position ourselves better in the knowledge-based economy. Also, the ‘library’ brand is not sufficient. Your personal reputation as an information professional matters equally. Read the rest of this entry »

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“This Book Is Overdue!”: Hot for librarian

Posted by Editor on February 22, 2010

By Jed Lipinski

The author of a new book talks about the secret lives of America’s favorite — and endangered — disciplinarians.

Behold the stereotypical librarian, with her cat’s-eye glasses, bun and pantyhose — a creature whose desexualized persona and desire for us to be quiet has fueled generations of wild sexual fantasies. But there’s bad news for those of you with a shushing fetish; as Marilyn Johnson explains in “This Book Is Overdue!: How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All,” the uptight librarian is a species that’s rapidly approaching extinction.

A new generation of young, hip and occasionally tattooed librarians is driving them out. They call themselves guybrarians, cybrarians and “information specialists,” and they blog at sites like The Free Range Librarian and The Lipstick Librarian. They can be found in droves on Second Life, but also outside the Republican National Convention, dodging tear gas canisters and tweeting the location of the police.

Johnson, a former staff writer for Life magazine, and author of “The Dead Beat,” a book about the fascinating world of obituary writing, delights in refuting our assumptions about librarians, while making a rock-solid case for their indispensability at a time when library systems are losing an average of 50 librarians per year. Who else is going to help us formulate the questions Google doesn’t understand, or show non-English speakers how to apply for jobs online, or sympathize with your need to research the ancient origins of cockfighting? Librarians, Johnson argues, are one of our most underappreciated natural resources.

Salon talked to Johnson over the phone from her home in Westchester County, in New York,  about the inadequacy of Google, why librarians have so many stalkers, and how a group of Connecticut librarians helped protect your privacy.

How did you know that librarians, not exactly known for their wild personalities, would make such riveting subjects?…read entire post HERE.

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12 Deadly Sins of Leaders–From Shep21

Posted by Editor on January 12, 2010

Posted January 6

Thanks to The Ohio State University Leadership Center

  1. Not being aware of the value of staff development.
  2. Wanting to be liked more than respected.
  3. Not implementing an effective vertical and horizontal communications system.
  4. Not being aware of the impact of negative comments.
  5. Not asking team members for their opinion on a regular basis.
  6. Not following the same rulebook as the team.
  7. Not promoting self-accountability.
  8. Not focusing on skills and talents of the team.
  9. Not being available.
  10. Not being visible on a regular basis.
  11. Not passing on information.
  12. Not building clear agreement and commitment on a yearly basis

See original post HERE.

From:  Howatt, W. A., (2008).  Leadership vs. management.  Kentville, Nova Scotia: Howatt HR Consulting Inc.

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The cult of the faceless boss-from the Economist

Posted by Editor on November 23, 2009

Nov 12th 2009
From The Economist print edition

Too many chief executives are instantly forgettable. It’s the flamboyant, visionary bosses who change the world

THE European Union is not the only institution that prefers faceless technocrats to people with star power. The corporate world is increasingly rejecting imperial chief executives in favour of anonymous managers—bland and boring men and women who can hardly get themselves noticed at cocktail parties, let alone stop the traffic in Moscow and Beijing.

Some of the world’s most powerful bosses are striking mainly for their blandness: Sam Palmisano at IBM, Tony Hayward at BP, Terry Leahy at Tesco, Vittorio Colao at Vodafone. These men are at the head of a vast army of even more forgettable bosses. Watch the parade of chief executives who appear on CNBC every day, or drop in to a high-powered conference, and you begin to wonder whether cloning is more advanced than scientists are letting on.

It is true that there are a few more women and members of ethnic minorities at the top of companies than there used to be. But physical diversity has not translated into cultural diversity or intellectual vitality. Almost without exception, today’s bosses spout the same tired old management clichés—about the merits of doing well by doing right, the importance of valuing your workers, the virtues of sustainability and so forth.

The women who were profiled in a recent article in the Financial Times about the “top 50 women in world business” were every bit as adept with the cliché as their male colleagues. Indra Nooyi, the boss of PepsiCo, proclaimed that she spends her weekends “doing everything that normal people do”. Andrea Jung, the boss of Avon, said her biggest inspiration came from “Avon’s six million sales representatives worldwide”.

The fashion for faceless chief executives is part of an understandable reaction against yesterday’s imperial bosses, many of whom were vivid characters, capable of holding their own in a cocktail party with Tony Blair, but who collectively brought opprobrium on the system that let them shine. Some, such as Jeff Skilling of Enron and Tyco’s Dennis Kozlowski, broke the law and helped inspire a dramatic tightening of government regulation, in the form of the Sarbanes-Oxley legislation. Others, such as Home Depot’s Bob Nardelli and Hewlett-Packard’s Carly Fiorina, paid themselves like superstars but delivered dismal results.

The turbulent business climate is another factor that encourages today’s chief executives to keep their heads down. Their average tenure has declined from ten years in the 1970s to six years today, and boards are becoming ever more likely to sack bosses if they get out of line, particularly in Europe. The financial crisis has also produced a wave of popular fury about over-paid executives and their unaccountable ways. In this sort of climate it is not just the paranoid, but the faceless, who survive….Read entire article here:

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Leadership & Management Section of MLA Studies “25 Counterintuitive Principles of Leadership”

Posted by Editor on November 17, 2009

This blog is being used for research purposes. The title of the study is : “25 Counterintuitive Principles of Leadership: Medical Library Association Member Perceptions.” Your participation in the study is voluntary. The Principle Investigator, Andrew Rucks, Associate Professor, School of Public Health, e-mail and telephone number 205-985-8967, welcomes any questions and comments you may have about the study.

The University of Alabama at Birmingham Institutional Review Board for Human Use (IRB) has assigned Protocol Number E090707007 to the study. If you have questions about your rights as a research participant, or concerns or complaints about the research, you may contact Ms. Sheila Moore. Ms. Moore is the Director of the Office of the Institutional Review Board for Human Use (OIRB) at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). Ms. Moore may be reached at (205) 934-3789 or 1-800-822-8816.

If calling the toll -free number, press the option for “all other calls” or for an operator/attendant and ask for extension 4-3789. Regular hours for the Office of the IRB are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. CT, Monday through Friday. You may also call this number in the event the research staff cannot be reached or you wish to talk to someone else.

Effective leaders do two things very well – establish direction and create a culture. Establishing direction for an organization involves developing a vision for the future and reaching consensus around strategies to move the organization toward that vision. Creating a culture involves shaping the organization’s habits, customs, and conventions.

We spend a great deal of time thinking about and discussing visioning and establishing direction for organizations and far too little time on creating culture. Yet, it may that culture ultimately determines strategic success and, importantly, whether people are happy and productive.

We believe that how we lead does more to shape habits and customs, as well as individual’s motivation and attitudes, than anything else. For more than a century prescriptions for successful management have remained essentially unchanged. Command and control, unity of the command structure, hierarchy, and standardization of policies, practices, and rules have become universally accepted principles. However, often such approaches have resulted in organizational cultures that discourage innovation, fun at work, collegiality, and ultimately productivity. Traditional management principles have often “turned people off” to work….

Visit the site to read and learn more here:

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