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(Cross posted on my blog.)

I had hoped to write up every day of the institute and post as soon as possible, but internet connections were shaky, and we didn’t spend much time with computers, so instead you’re getting a summary.

The North Carolina Library Association Leadership Institute is The Best Leadership Training program that I’ve been through, and I’ve been through several. That’s not to say that the others weren’t good, just that the NCLA one paid attention to every possible detail, gave us all good opportunities to think about our own leadership practice, was a group of fantastic people, and was just what I needed at this point in time.

The entire workshop tended to run from 8am to 8pm, with three one-hour meal breaks and one one-hour break throughout the day. We met in large discussion/lectures, small group sessions, and had some individual work time. Every night we had a great speaker from other industries that focus on customer service.

The focus of the workshop is to understand our own authentic leadership style, how to share vision and think about employees/coworkers, and how to use that vision and good treatment of fellow workers to create the best possible experience for our users/clients/customers/patrons/etc. There were several mantras throughout the week, but the one that seemed to summarize the entire week was “It starts with you, but it’s not about you.” The “it” was up for discussion several times throughout the week.

The culmination of the week was our leadership statement of purpose. Mine was:

“My purpose is to use big picture, strategic thinking to help libraries remain relevant in today’s information environment. Through meeting and exceeding our users’ expectations, I hope to help create a library environment–both offline and online–which will inspire our users to be our advocates.”

And because I tend to be goal oriented, I included a how to section:

“To do this I will

  • foster an environment of learning, experimentation, and creative adaptation.
  • encourage innovative thinking and novel approaches in education and technology.
  • cultivate a culture of compassion within my own library, both with colleagues and library users.”

I knew most of this about me, but it was good to have a period to reflect, take some assessment tools, and really focus in on my values, motivations, and passions. Hopefully this will reflect in both my job at WFU and in my work for the profession.

It was particularly good timing, given that I was feeling a little burned out after working on the book for so long.

The schedule for the last day included sharing our statements. There was a little anxiety around that issue, and we talked about it in my group. I shared an idea about how to approach it, and before I knew it, everyone knew and that was how we all shared our statements on the last day. For that, I was given the Tiger and a few books on leadership, now living on my bookshelves. (Well, the Tiger at least… the books are on the way to Vienna with me. 🙂 )


Now I’m off on some personal time. Hopefully this will complete the rejuvination and I’ll be ready to hit the ground running!