Home » career advice » What Library Leaders Can’t Fake | Leading from the Library

What Library Leaders Can’t Fake | Leading from the Library

Leadership | Academic Librarians | Mentoring

by Steven Bell | Jan 24, 2019

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One school of thought in leadership suggests those who do it well can role play some area of their work for which they are less than authentically passionate. While that may be a useful leadership skill for unique situations, there are some things leaders should never fake.

From frontline reference librarian to library director, I’ve had the great experience of serving in a wide range of positions in academic libraries of different types. For the most part I avoided suffering extended bouts of impostor syndrome, a fairly regular topic of discussion in our profession. However early in my career, in my first reference librarian position at a top ten business school library, the first year was one of self-doubt. There was little discussion of impostor syndrome back then, though it’s likely that I was experiencing it. For the first six months as a library director, I occasionally gave in to thoughts of being unqualified and unlikely to succeed as that library’s leader. But in these and other positions, as I achieved small successes my confidence grew, and I came to believe more strongly that I was the right person for the job. A recent webinar on impostor syndrome I attended, wanting to better understand how this affects librarians, got me thinking about what it means for library leaders. Leaders need to recognize how impostor syndrome impacts their own progress, but they should also recognize and support staff who may be experiencing it. Read more…

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