A guest post by Danis Kreimeier
Developing Leaders in California Libraries (DLCL) met in-person Wednesday, November 30 and Thursday, December 1 in Oakland. After meeting remotely since September, it was obvious that cohort members were excited to be together for the first time in person, as the volume in the meeting room rose quickly in an enthusiastic rumbling.
Engagement was high and rose even more with the first activity focused on getting to know the coaches. (As a part of the DLCL program coaches are available to cohort members.) Coaches and cohort members talked together in a modified speed dating format, with the coaches rotating from table to table, sharing their philosophy and getting to know one another.
“Connecting with this year’s new cohort of Developing Leaders was invigorating. It was an honor to witness these leaders collaborate on how we can better serve our communities and become strong allies. The future of libraries is bright!” Coach Mandy Nasr, Director, Camarillo Public Library
Following coach speed dating we participated in a world café exercise exploring what elements and qualities are inherent in equitable leadership. The focus was on answering the question, What are the qualities, values, and skills that a leader should embrace in order to increase equitable outcomes within the library community? (Learn more about the World Cafe.)
Authenticity, accountability, respect, embracing differences, mindfulness, tenacity, I’m sure all these words make sense to you as you consider the qualities of leadership. The challenge is how do we take these qualities into our workplace and communities? That’s something else that DLCL cohort members discussed. Conversation included recognition that authentic leadership requires self-knowledge, the willingness to be vulnerable, and to see setbacks or failures as an opportunity to grow and learn. It doesn’t matter where you are in your organization, anyone can be a leader and an ally. “Leading from behind” can be one of the most transformative ways to evolve an organization. And it’s not just for extroverts, it comes in all shapes, sizes, and colors.
As we learned during the session on Allyship, we may get it wrong sometimes, but that’s no reason not to try. Learning to work through the uncomfortableness and have authentic encounters is a key skill set in developing all the other tools. But with vision, courage and strength we can grow.
What’s next for the DLCL cohort members? They will participate in teams over the next several months on a leadership challenge project. These projects will focus on community assets and challenges and designing community-based services that reflect those.
“The library, via its incredible and inspirational staff, is at the forefront of many for the conversations that shape our future. The library is a source for connection to people, community, culture, and ubiquitous learning.” Coach Marissa Murphy-Becerra
Learn more about Developing Leaders in California Libraries and find out how you can be a part of this forward-looking initiative.