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Follow the Leader

May 12, 2011

As librarians we collect, manage, teach, encourage, collaborate, motivate, guide, and the list goes on.  But how many of us are leaders?  Well, simply put, we all are.  We lead people to current, accurate, vetted information.  We lead committees and task forces.  We lead discussions that shape the future of information.  But, what does good leadership look like?  After thinking and reading (Drucker, Maxwell, Rockefeller, Lincoln) about what makes a remarkable leader, I came across a Web site that distills the qualities of a good leader into a short list of concise attributes. This list comes from the Girl Scouts of America Web site (, and provides five key qualities a good leader must possess:

  1.  Know yourself – know what you value.  “One that desires to excel should endeavor in those things that are in themselves most excellent.”  Epictetus
  2. Be committed – find a mentor, know the issues of your profession.  “80% of success is just showing up.”  Woody Allen
  3. Realize you don’t know it all – do your research and seek out other perspectives.
  4. Be open to change – “In essence, leaders are people who ‘walk ahead,’ people genuinely committed to deep changes, in themselves and in their organizations.” Peter Senge
  5. Go the extra mile – and people will follow.

And I would also suggest we be kind and laugh a little (even at ourselves).

Interesting Viewing and Reading:

TED Video, Kathryn Schultz: On Being Wrong

Academic Librarian: Leading Change, By Wayne Bivens-Tatum

Librarians and Leadership: you have not signed up to work in the back room somewhere… by Susan Fifer Canby

One Comment leave one →
  1. Bonnie Oldham permalink
    May 12, 2011 5:20 pm

    This is a great post. As a former Girl Scout, I would like to make note of the fact that the official name of the Girl Scout organization is “Girl Scouts of the United States of America.”

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