Session Notes: Invest in Yourself | STAGING Compendium

This is part of a series of Session Notes from grantees who have received Professional Development grants from the Office of Commonwealth Libraries. Each grantee will share their professional development experience and include tips and other resources from the workshop or class. Grantees had their choice of an article for the Compendium, a webinar or a podcast. This project was made possible by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Darlene Marshall

Darlene Marshall


by Darlene Marshall

The key thing shared at the recent seminar I attended on Leadership, Team-Building & Coaching Skills
for Managers & Supervisors, presented by Plummer Bailor, was realizing that investing in yourself is the key to good leadership.

As librarians, we often get busy serving the needs of many other individuals and trying to juggle so many various duties. Leaders need to take time to think, plan, and evaluate.

Something that really resonated with me is that, when people know “why,” they perform better. So make a connection on every assignment, so everyone knows “why.” Taking the time to be specific about the details of the task will help you avoid future problems.

A few key phrases we learned to remember as leaders:

  • Invest in yourself.
  • Commit to learning and thinking each day. Take ten minutes each day to just think.
  • Leaders are learners.
  • Leaders are thinkers.
  • Hallmarks of a maturing leader are self-assessment and self-evaluation.
  • Leaders need to have SPIF, which stands for being Strategic, Purposeful, Intentional, and
  • Small hinges open big doors.
  • What you tolerate, you promote.

Five important P’s: Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance!

The 10 pillars of leadership are learn, engage, affirm, delegate, empower, relate, support, help, inspire, and promote.
LEARN – As a leader we must take time to “learn” and refresh ourself. The only one of the pillars that deals with you is learning. Take ten minutes every day just to learn something new and invest in yourself.
ENGAGE – Take time to engage people on your team and pay attention to the little things like how they life their coffee or if they don’t even like coffee. Know what floats their boat.
AFFIRM – Everyone has a strong desire to feel significance. Let your team know they are doing a good job. People flourish where they feel significant.
DELEGATE – We must delegate as leaders. We need to create “to do lists” that enable us to delegate.
EMPOWER – This is delegation on steroids. Promote your employees. Promotion is advertising what your employees are really good doing and sharing it with others.
RELATE – This is the linchpin that all the ten pillars of leadership rest on. Working relationships matter.
Leaders must lay the foundation to do team building. As John Maxwell states, “Leadership is influence.
No conversation no relationship, no relationship no influence, no influence no leadership.” Leaders must position themselves to learn and work on relationships. Building goodwill is relational collateral.
SUPPORT – Your team needs to know they have your support. Demonstrate that you have their back.
Support them and say it, believe it, and act like it. So they will believe you and trust you.
HELP – Coach your employees and curb the urge to give answers. Coaching is a conversation where you
walk the employee through what they have already done. Ask questions, quantify, and don’t start with “why” as it is a judgmental approach even though it is the best question to ask. “Why” will cause defensiveness and not be a good starting point to help anyone.
INSPIRE – Try new things. Create an environment of inspiration and creativity.

The things we learned that leaders should CURB are:
Curb the urge to give the answers. Personal ownership is a major motivator to work harder.
Curb the urge to put a negative label on your employees. It has the reverse effect of promoting and it tears them down.

Many other things were covered during the seminar including: coaching employees, increasing enthusiasm, maintaining morale, recognizing the problems, analyzing your team, and much more.

Some suggested recommended resources for leaders are:
The New Psychology of Achievement by Brain Tracy
Teach your Team to Fish by Laurie Beth Jones
Fierce Conversations by Susan Scott
Coaching for Performance by John Whitmore
Resources by Michael Hyatt
Resources by John Maxwell (My personal favorite is Thinking for a Change)
State Labor Relations Department (assistance if you don’t have a Human Relations Department)
Ultimate Employer software (examples to use for policies, job descriptions, people management, and performance reviews based on Human Relations compliant language)

Remember that leadership has challenges, so do two things for yourself:

1) make a “happy” file and

2) make an envelope with a picture of a house and a picture of a car.

In your happy file, list five things that make you happy and, on days you wonder “why” you are doing your job, pull out the “happy” file and review your list. On really tough days when that list is not able to help make you happy, pull out the envelope and look at the pictures to tell yourself you have a house payment and a car payment.

Thanks to a LSTA Professional Development Grant I was able to attend the Leadership, Team-Building & Coaching Skills for Managers & Supervisors Seminar offered by Fred Pryor Seminars presented by Plummer Bailor from North Carolina. This was an excellent seminar and I’d recommend it to any leader.