Leadership, turtles and giving (Post 13)

I went to a professional session today, where the participants of a leadership course were presenting their findings from their ‘action learning’ projects and reflecting on the leadership course they were just completing.

The leadership course takes about 10 days over 4 months, including 3 residentials. It is a big commitment, both by the participants and by the libraries they work for, to free them to participate. I did the course back in 2006-7, in its first run, and the same course has been run for my POW or by my POW about 9 times in total.

It was great to recognise many in the audience – library managers I have known as colleagues in my previous roles, and library staff I have worked with or managed over the many years.

One component this course includes is a Team Management Profile, where participants are ‘profiled’ from answering many questions. The 8 profiles include: Explorer-promotor; assessor-developer; thruster-organiser; concluder-producer; controller-inspector; upholder-maintainer; reporter-adviser; and, creator-innovator. The basis of these profiles is somewhat Myers Briggs, with a different take. It is enlightened to find out about yourself, but I found it more valuable as a means to understand what motivates others.

Images are courtesy of TMS Worldwide.



It was interesting to hear these new leaders talking about their learnings and experience through the course. One had not recognised her own strengths and found it valuable for others to tell her – she felt empowered. Another was not aware of her preferences, and was surprised to find that she was an extrovert – she really needed people around her to achieve the best thinking. Other referred to themselves as ‘turtles’, hiding in their shells. They needed to have confidence to come out of their shells and actively lead.

The one participant that really hit a chord with me – and I don’t know her at all – talked about leadership as giving: giving freely to others, to the profession and to the library sector. She made a promise to keep giving as much as she could. Inspiring! And a wake-up call!

It was a great session – the participants were wonderful and the audience was full of hope for the library profession. My takeaway was to remember to give.


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