Leadership is one of the areas I’m focusing on for my CILIP Chartership and as a result I’ve been involved in a number of different activities based on this topic. I thought it would be useful to consolidate them and share some of the key lessons I’ve learnt. These have derived from my involvement in the following activities:

  • ALA Emerging Leaders program (including leadership training at ALA Midwinter)
  • Chairing CILIP West Midlands committee
  • Joining Future Faces Birmingham
  • Giving a presentation on Developing leadership skills through professional engagement
  • Attending the CILIP in Wales Conference on leadership
  • Reading core leadership texts, articles and blogs
Here are the lessons I’ve learnt so far:
  1. To be an effective leader you must know about yourself and understand the way you work
    This can be achieved through psychometric tests or by reflecting on your own skills and experiences.
  2. You need to learn about and understand others in order to be able to lead
    Understanding their perspective is as important, if not moreso than understanding your own perspective.
  3. Leadership is not a lone pursuit
    Shared leadership is becoming more common (where no one person is the dedicated leader) and even individual leadership involves understanding, working with, and empowering others so social interactions are key.
  4. Management is not the same thing as leadership
    You can be both a manager and a leader, but being a manager doesn’t mean you are automatically a leader. Some of the skills are transferable, but the two are not the same.
  5. Leadership isn’t a position
    It’s about the mindset and the type of person, rather than just a position. People can be leaders without being in a traditional leadership position.
  6. Leadership is an individual journey and everyone will be different
    What is important is that you are willing to put yourself in new situations, reflect, and learn from them.
  7. Be authentic
    You’ll earn more respect and trust this way and it will be a far more natural process. There is no cookie cutter personality type for a successful leader, the key is to be authentic.

I’m still at the start of my leadership journey but I’m learning so much, and am really grateful for these opportunities which have helped me so far.

What lessons do you have to share from your own leadership journey? Please feel free to share any additional tips in the comments.

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