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Essential Leadership

businesswoman-617134_640 by geralt at PixabayJennifer Fenton, of the Washington State Library, invited me to co-facilitate a Leadership workshop with her. Of course, I accepted. The first thing we did was decide on a name: Essential Leadership. And then the fun began!

The workshop was sponsored by LiFE (Leadership is For Everyone), an interest group of WLA. What an apt name! This sponsorship was perfect because we wanted to get across the following concepts: Leadership is different than Management and leadership is for everyone! We wanted to approach the concept of Leadership a little differently than you might normally hear about it.

We met several times (and communicated via email when we were unable to meet) to figure out which activities and bits of content would make the cut (we had a surplus of ideas, of course) and still meet our objectives set for the workshop. We also met to make sure the flow made sense for what we were trying to get across. The objectives were as follows:

  • Describe the differences between leadership and management.
  • Identify qualities of excellent leaders.
  • Identify actions you can take right now without the need for more resources or authority.

We utilized a few Liberating Structures activities, with modifications for the audience and timing. We even added some additional activities once we noticed the group was consistently finishing more quickly than expected (based on our previous experience).

business-idea-680788_640 by geralt at PixabayWe created our own activities as well. For instance, I decided the best way for us to look at Leadership versus Management was with a Venn Diagram. It turned out pretty well, and one of the participants is planning to take it back and use it at her workplace.

Jennifer created a document for people to write Action Plans for developing their leadership. We wanted to make sure participants left with concrete steps for moving forward, based on current resources available to them, and with ideas for how to navigate the various challenges and hurdles that may pop up as they work on their action plans out in the real world. Several activities supported this goal because we wanted to ensure the participants felt solid about their plans and next steps.

The workshop was quite the success. We had a great group of librarians from various locations that all came together on May 20th at the Lakewood branch of the Pierce County Library system.

Based on the one-word checkout at the end, I would say the participants all left with something they could use. I was happy to hear a couple of them say they were walking away feeling confident, several others reported feeling inspired, and one very specifically said she was walking away with tools.

I, myself, felt inspired. I would love to do this workshop again. The nice thing about it is that it is so flexible based on the audience. The activities allow for crowd-sourcing and connection. The content applies to every industry. And it is just plain fun.

If you know a group of people who want to explore Essential Leadership, including the differences between Leadership vs. Management, getting clearer about the qualities of excellent leaders, and exploring which of the qualities each of the participants embody, let us know! One last important thing to consider: are you (and they) ready to take action to increase your leadership skills (and potentially curtail some un-leadership behaviors)? If so, let’s get started! We would love to do this workshop with your group!

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