Patty Iannuzzi’s Keynote – Leadership in Action: Leading, Learning, and Reflecting on a Career in Academic Libraries – notes

Here are my notes from Patricia Iannuzzi’s keynote speech about her experience with leadership in a variety of academic library organizations.  She related some key formative experiences, primarily from the perspective of how leadership intersects with management roles.

Patty Iannuzzi’s Keynote – Leadership in Action: Leading, Learning, and Reflecting on a Career in Academic Libraries

  • metaphor of choreographer – working with talent and orchestrating it to synchronize

    • individuals and ensembles

  • self awareness is a big part of leadership

    • Myers Briggs personality types

    • learning how to work better with other personality styles

    • she was dismayed not to have an “F” – feeling

      • “I’ve spent the last 30 years faking an F”

      • after 30 years, it has become a habit – on the list of things to do

  • having the self awareness to know how to get along with those not in your style

  • also not hire like yourself only

  • create spaces for everyone of every personality type to thrive

  • as a profession we are committed to self awareness and improving ourselves

    • not so much across our organizations – faculty

  • “no matter how special you are, you’re not leading if nobody is there with you”

  • how do you create the environment where everyone feels connected to your vision – not enough to just articulate it

  • have the vision, communicate it, and also be a great manager – need to translate it into the infrastructure of your organization

    • need to develop your supervisors, middle management, etc

  • can also lead from the background – hire the talent, give them your vision, and then clear the path in front of them and stay out of their way

  • Sharing unsuccessful projects too

    • owning your failure – “missteps in the right direction”

  • her program fell apart after she left – hadn’t put enough in place to keep it sustainable

  • not enough to be the star – have to create the space for others to shine

  • YOU ARE ALL LEADERS

  • pick up the responsibility – look around your organization, pick it up and run with it

  • volunteer, use your library as a laboratory – keep experimenting

  • how do you build relationships with others outside of the library

  • Be familiar with the research and trends happening in higher education

  • be aware what the message is from your own organization

    • stop trying to find a common language – our campus cultures are all so different

    • this allows you to be a good ambassador for your library

  • If you are not invited to the table, MAKE YOUR OWN

  • SuperLibrarian – we suffer from an inferiority complex

    • but really we are awesome

    • collaborative, service-oriented, generalists, IT power users, see and make connections across campus

  • we are not any less qualified in the academic sphere – don’t just define yourself based on your subject specialization (like your faculty colleagues)

  • positional power of management – hard to separate the person from the position

    • responsibility to listen, to question, to investigate when you are new to a position

  • new management coming in and pretending that there is no past

    • honor the initiatives that have come before – if similar things have been tried, don’t pretend that they haven’t

  • close the loop – people want to be listened to – demonstrate that you are open to change, that their views are informing

    • “I heard you, I listened, thank you for informing my decision” if you go in a different direction

  • Great leaders don’t just tell you what to do, they show you how it’s done

  • “I learn the most from the people who disagree with me”

  • Not changing for the sake of change, changing for the sake of improvement

    • continuous, data driven assessment

  • managing change is creating critical mass – create an environment that people want to be part of

    • building places that people want to be together in

  • maturation points within an organization – how certain practices aren’t right for your org unless you are ready for this

    • how do you support leadership development through the committee structure

    • where does the authority come from

  • “my first responsibility is managing organizational culture”

    • if you don’t have strong leadership at the top, weird sub-cultures develop

  • second responsibility seeing the big picture – how it’s broken down and put back together

    • the colored glass that makes up the kaleidoscope – how the pieces get put together to make the good things happen

    • being connected, understanding ppl’s strengths, understanding the literature, understanding your role as a connector

  • back to choreography metaphor – Alvin Ailey clip

    • individuals connected in an organization

    • moving in and out of groups

    • lots of space to shine as an individual

    • coordination that may not be immediately obvious, but it’s there

    • shared commitment to excellence in their performance

  • Questions

    • how did things get done before email? questioner sees her work as moving around a lot, and management spends a lot of time emailing – her reluctance to move into management roles because it’s not appealing to be sitting still all day

      • PI sees it as more about organizational communication patterns

      • not so much about email but about being present in an authentic space for the people who work for you

      • sometimes it works to be an emailer, sometimes not (depending on org size and workflow)

    • problem w questioner’s org – lots of managers, not enough leaders

      • PI thinks that middle managers are absolutely essential, and have to be leaders – need people who want to guide and facilitate initiatives and people

      • we don’t do enough to train and encourage stars in organization to become managers

    • how can those of us not in leadership/management roles to encourage what you are talking about in our managers?

      • soft skills development – communication skills, self awareness stuff

      • recommend suggest that there is a space for this around style – communication style, management style

      • if you can get your managers in line with idea, maybe have that self awareness develop on the part of your managers

      • diagnosing the style of your own managers, and how to best communicate with and work together with that style

      • aligning yourself with the way that your managers will respond best to

    • multi-generational organizations – how to work around that?

      • first step is to acknowledge that it can be a challenge

      • make a statement – we won’t tolerate anything less than respect for everyone

      • don’t ignore it – it isn’t personal – create the space where we have the conversations to facilitate change

      • it’s not like the new people don’t know how stuff works either – it’s possible to learn from everybody at all stages in their career

    • do you see yourself as the choreographer or part of the dance?

      • PI – I see myself as the choreographer who came up as a dancer, so I understand what is involved the role, also the one who hires the talent and perhaps suggest that the talent would do better with another troupe

    • how do the front-liners lead? how to get initiatives acknowledged?

      • every library director likes to have stories to tell about what their people have been doing

      • this is what leaders do – they get an idea, they frame and pitch it it, they make it happen

    • many of us working in hispanic serving institutions – intentionality, experiential knowledge – how those can enhance our work in reference/instruction, particularly in recruiting and mentoring librarians of color

    • thoughts on influencing library school leadership as well

      • “intentionality” – AACNU – “excellence of inclusion” – creating educational experiences that are sensitive for ALL

      • not just about recruiting minorities, but everyone

      • be clear that diversity issues are not separate

      • organization first, diversity second

      • not just about pipeline issues – students see people like themselves

      • about creating an organizational culture first where the practices are embedded – not just a one off response, crisis mentality – meeting our quota for librarians of color

    • challenging what she said about supporting faculty; would rather see the library as another academic department

      • PI hates the word ‘support’ and doesn’t even say ‘service’ – framing it in a way so that everybody wins and gets something

      • not about being servile, but being strategic – “information literacy” vs. “undergraduate research” – using the language that will resonate best with your institution