I am delighted to be taking part in the inaugral CILIP Leadership Programme! The programme is designed for mid-career library and information professionals with some experience of leadership. The idea behind the programme is not just to develop leadership skills for individual development, but to create leadership within the profession. I plan to blog throughout the programme because I think that will be useful information for others considering taking part, as well as providing valuable feedback and awareness raising for CILIP.
The programme is mainly delivered online using CILIP’s Virtual Learning Environment, but includes four face-to-face training days. I am fortunate to have received funding for the £250 programme fee from the CILIP London Regional Member Network through their small grants scheme (funded by the Library Trust). My employers have agreed to give me time off to attend the face-to-face training days. I still have to find the money to cover the costs of travelling and subsistence when attending face-to-face training (although CILIP provide lunch), but I’m lucky that one of the four days will be in London where I live.
I applied to join the programme because I am interested in expanding the experience I currently have of leading project teams at work and other professional activities. I work in a technical role without managerial responsibilities, I do not specifically aspire to a management position, but I do want to be a leader at work and within the profession. At my workplace there is a leadership and management programme, but I cannot access it as I am not a line manager. Leadership is often conflated with management, so through taking part in the progamme I would like to encourage others who are not in managerial posts to develop leadership skills and become leaders. I want to develop leadership skills that I can implement in my workplace when leading project teams, in client meetings and in discussions around project design. I also am in the early stages of undertaking my CILIP Fellowship and feel that taking part in this programme will help me to develop leadership and innovation skills to enable me to make a significant contribution to the profession and achieve Fellow status.
The programme will provide me with a solid theoretical underpinning, but also the opportunity to apply that theory, which will make it all the more useful and applicable to the real-world. For example, learning the theory of different leadership styles, complemented by a practical element of assessing the appropriateness of these leadership styles to different situations. The programme includes a group project component which will provide me with an opportunity to implement my leadership skills to the benefit of a CILIP Member Network or Special Interest Group. The project I will be working on is to help Member Networks and Special Interest Groups to develop equality and diversity strategies. I feel this will be of real value to the profession as equality and diversity are widely acknowledged as issues within the profession. This project will help CILIP to enable all of its users to engage with and benefit from its branches/groups’ offerings. I hope that this may contribute to enabling people from all backgrounds to develop and themselves and contribute to the profession.
I am undertaking the leadership programme as part of my Fellowship so I will use the skills I have gained through the process of Fellowship and taking part in the leadership programme to act as a leader within my profession. In particular I would like to encourage more women to position themselves as leaders, as I feel that there is sometimes a lack of professional confidence amongst women in the profession. I will do so through being a CILIP Chartership Mentor, but will also explore other routes to encourage and facilitate more women within the profession becoming leaders and building their professional confidence.
So I am hoping that taking part in the programme will benefit me as I will develop leadership skills, but ultimately I aim to use these skills to the benefit of CILIP and my profession.
[Edit: one of the face-to-face days is confirmed as being in London]