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Who are you? Range from academic to long time to short time to ones who want to get to the next place. So, no consensus on the same 26. What this is not. Not to learn what you can find out elsewhere. Read leadership style books, marketing books, MyersBriggs tests. Safe place. No one to impress. This is what you’ll not ever read about for our world. As you saw from our one-on-one conversation, the time flies by.
Keep it all about you. Let’s start with what you have control over—YOU. In a profession that gives and gives, and sometimes apologizes for the monetary rewards you get, we can get worn out. You can’t! For those of you who are parents, being a director is very parental. You have to have perspective, be aware of what’s coming next, hide bad news when it’s not necessary for those who can’t handle it or do anything about it.
If I Googled you, what would I find? You’re important. “Get over it.” Not the time to be shy. People are counting on you. Who do you look up to in your community? You are now that person to other. With many of you, we spoke about Myers Briggs Personality Indicators and you knew what your tendencies are. If we didn’t, please take a test on-line because we’ll be referring to it.
If you determine that you just don’t have the right temperament, outlook and optimism to be a director, there are plenty of other places you can use your talents. This is one of the hardest jobs on earth because it impacts an entire community. Be honest with yourself. These four weeks are not to boost you but to examine what’s keeping you from being your best. And if that sounds harsh, I’m sorry, but I promise you’ll be better for hearing hard things than platitudes.
Your role in the community. Doesn’t matter how big or small. How to seize it. What isn’t comfortable? What’s appropriate to delegate? You should have a bigger role than the superintendent of schools. You’re in charge of the community’s university. It can all seem surreal like floating above the earth. Don’t look down! Only listen to the people who you have respect for. Others may be jealous of you and unsure of themselves. It’s in their best interest for you to fail or stay the way you are. Keep your dignity. You’re only as good as what you do next, meaning what people imagine you doing. Don’t give yourself an excuse like lack of contacts, geographical disadvantage, economic situation, etc.
Know the community, read and listen (journalists can be your friend), hear what people say about you outside your space, see yourself as a recipient of your communications
second person to raise their hands. C those who email you and push back. Whom do you talk to? What's your day like? Who are you in touch with? Whom are you avoiding? Why? When you really can't get along with someone how do you cope?
How do you begin the day? Nutrition, organized, on time, positive thoughts, Or end the day before? Be optimistic without being naïve. Shed people who drag you down. You can’t know everything so surround yourself with resource people—your advisors or the people you read. Don’t use staff for people to sympathize with you. People who reach a certain level of accomplishment become lonely. Its flattering to be asked for advice. Open door policies sound good but I suggest modifying them to certain hours of the day. Have someone sort the mail if a union envelope sets you off or a salesperson or assignment. Know what time of day you are best to concentrate and sequester yourself. For me it was 5-6:30 a.m. Block out vacation ahead of time. Don’t be a martyr.
Take an “I’m worth it” attitude. Do you go to conferences or workshops to renew thinking and get new information and contacts? Learn the ukelele. Made worcestershire sauce and raisins—so different than the norm. It’s all about perspective and energy and what you’re storing up to bring in to others.
If you’re uncomfortable being under a microscope, you’ve chosen the wrong profession. [read list] I often felt odd speaking in front of staff—the same people I just shared a break with until I read what staff had to say about me when I left. They WANT to be proud.
Keep a diary of new-to-you thoughts, concerns or things you don’t agree with, action plan.
With #1, make sure it’s compatible to your talents. For those of you who are seeking new situations, write and gain a reputation outside your position.
This week was meant to concentrate on you and make you ready to take on what you have less control of. Next week, we go into interactions with others that you have some but not total control over—. staff. After that, we’ll talk about Boards, managers, and your respective publics. Here’s a final slide to leave you with:
Seth Godin always seems to say the right thing at the right time. I get his thinking daily in my email.
Survive and Thrive as a Library Director: Part 1 (Nov/Dec 2016)
How to Survive and
1 academic librarian
3 public library directors
(most with less than 3 years
experience in a public library)
1 deputy director who will be a
public library director in January
Goal for today
Meeting #1—it’s all about YOU first
• Begin the day right
• Shed negative influences
• Surround yourself with the right people
• Control of what comes at you
• Know when you’re at your best
• Take all your vacation
More coping skills
• Delegate what doesn’t use your
talents (e.g., building
• Scream (so only YOU hear it)
• Store up positive messages
My daily boosters
• No sugar before 6 p.m./lots of
• Reading positive writers, e.g.
Seth Godin, Bruce Kasanoff
• Knowing the news with the
Skimm and Daily Pnut
• Checking in with positive,
My annual boosters
• Conference selection
• Something for myself—buy
flowers, get a massage, have
your car detailed
• Learning something new
• Vacation choice
• Something for others—visiting
elderly friend, donations, talking
to recent arrivals
You’re on stage
• People are paying attention to
• You have to add preparation
time to your day
• You’re held to a higher standard
• Others want to be proud of you
How do I go from theory to
• Keep a diary
• Be who you are
• Track progress and reward
• Be truthfully generous
• Identify a professional role model
• Have professional photo done
• Update/sign up for LinkedIn
• Be prominent on your website
• Google yourself and make sure you’re
proud of what you see
• Write something so people have
tangible evidence of your
• Have a great business card
regardless of the official one
• Make a personal improvement
plan (sleep, eating, breathing,
reading, listening, learning,
What would you like
to add that’s worked
• Send questions/topics to
address by Wednesday at 5 pm
More powerful than you know
by Seth Godin
I think that's always been a little
true, but now it's a lot true.
Everyone reading this has an
enormous amount of power.
Cultural power, mostly. The ability
to speak up, to paint a picture of a
different way, to share words and
images with those that care to hear
But also the power of connection.
The power to find people who need
to know each other and help make
When we combine leadership (the
leadership of ideas) with
organization (the organization of
people) we create the fabric of our
culture, and our culture determines
It's far easier to worry and gripe
about insufficient authority, about
those that would seek to slow us
down, disrespect us or silence us.
But we live in a moment where
each of us has the power of
influence. What will you do with it?
When your job is in reaction mode,
you're allowing the outside world to
decide what happens next. You are
freed from the hard work of setting
an agenda, but in exchange, you
dance when the market says
dance. "I did the best I could with
what was thrown at me..."
Finding the guts to move up the
ladder is hard. When you decide to
set the agenda and when you take
control over your time and your
effort, the responsibility for what
happens next belongs to you.