Emerging Leaders – Class of 2009 – Orientation Session

From 8:30 AM – 5:30 PM the Class of 2009 Emerging Leaders met to learn about their assigned projects, meet with their groups, and learn about the expected outcomes of the program. Presentations by Leslie Berger, Maureen Sullivan, Connie Paul, and Peter Bromberg taught lessons on leadership and working in virtual teams. Jim Rettig and Keith Fiels also stopped by to offer their thoughts on the impact of the Emerging Leaders program within ALA. A brief synopsis of their talks follows, but you can also view their PowerPoint presentations by visiting: http://wikis.ala.org/emergingleaders/index.php/2009_Emerging_Leaders_Program

All of the speeches and leadership lessons were interesting and dynamic. However, long blog posts sometimes are not, so below you find the key points and lessons from the talks:

Leslie Berger spoke on leadership and what she hoped the Emerging Leaders would gain and also give back to ALA. Her key points included the following:
– Ask and challenge. Then ask and challenge. Ask why, why, why, why? Don’t be afraid to challenge the status quo and constantly ask yourself and others “Why do we do it this way”?
– Be bold – don’t be afraid to speak out and ask “the old guys” questions (a reference to older, more experienced members of ALA that new members may feel intimidated by)
– In ALA it’s not about who’s right, it’s about reaching our goals together as an organization.

Maureen Sullivan drew on her immense experience in library leadership and consulting experience to provide the following leadership insight:
– The five key elements of good leaders are: they challenge the process, they inspire shared vision, they enable others to act, the model the way, and they encourage the heart.
– She recommended the work of Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner for further insight into what makes great leaders.

Peter Bromberg spoke on the key skills that are necessary to successful virtual teamwork – a huge part of the Emerging Leaders program.
– The habits of successful virtual teams include: strong orientation towards results, high levels of communication (some kind of synchronous communication is key), the embracing of technologies that work well for all team members, accountability on behalf of all, and excellent team dynamics.

Keith Fiels stopped by for a few moments and let the Emerging Leaders know the keys to being great leaders within ALA:
– Show up, volunteer when the opportunity arises, and you promise something, deliver on it.

Jim Rettig spoke briefly on the importance of transparent organizations and mentioned that in many ways, the work that the Emerging Leaders do is very much like the work of President Obama – it creates change and if done correctly lends to organizational transparency.

Connie Paul led a variety of activities throughout the day, including goals assessment, identification of team goals and strategies and ice breakers.

Again, for further information and to view the presentations, visit the Emerging Leaders wiki at http://wikis.ala.org/emergingleaders/index.php/2009_Emerging_Leaders_Program