Blog Posts

Inspiring and Motivating Individuals

Team work

During the Bonington leadership programme, one of the key exercises we did was on the topic of identifying our values and being authentic to them. A key value of mine is endless intellectual curiosity and a hunger for constant learning. Hence, I am now doing an online “Leading People and Teams” specialisation through Coursera, taught by University of Michigan Ross School of Business. The specialisation consists of five individual courses which are: Inspiring and Motivating Individuals; Managing Talent; Influencing People; Leading Teams; and a Leading People and Teams Capstone. I have just finished the first of these courses on the topic of “Inspiring and Motivating Individuals” and in this post, I will summarise my key learning from this course. Shared vision and purpose To inspire and motivate individuals, they need a shared vision and a mission to work. Leaders can get obsessed with developing concepts that are intensively future focussed, not bringing the team along with them, causing a feeling of loss, discontentment and not being valued in their team. It is important that leaders develop a vision that is both forward-looking and realistic, a vision that is clear to understand. A clear vision can create a sense of energy

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Creative leadership – qualities and attributes

Bowness - view from our walk

The theme of the Bonington annual retreat for the 2016 cohort was “creative leadership”. Throughout the retreat, we questioned, discussed and explored what creative leadership is, how we define it in higher education institutions, how we can become creative leaders ourselves, and how we can embark on creative leadership across the organisation. Creative leadership has become a necessity to work in the fragile and uncertain higher education environment around us. Based on our workshop and in my opinion, here are the five qualities/attributes/skills that creative leaders need to have in higher education environments. These are: Braveness One of the discussion points during Bonington was whether creative leaders are always brave or rule pushers/breakers. Upon further pondering and reading, I have come to the realisation that this may not necessarily be true. Creative leaders are often better-informed leaders with a self-belief in their own and organisation’s destination. For this reason, they can keep their own and organisation’s focus, take hard decisions, and move forward together with others. They continuously strive to remain informed and instil the same values in their team and organisation. They are more aware of the consequences of the decisions they will make during their journey, making it

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Explore, Reflect, Communicate, Repeat!

Often when I speak to people about innovation, the first question I get is along the lines of “So how do you do it?. How can we do the same at our institution?”. In my opinion, no one has cracked the mystery of how innovative teams develop this core capability. No matter how many books or articles you read, there will always be a different perspective. This blog post provides my point of view. When you are starting to embed innovation in a team, there are some factors you should consider to make the environment as conducive to innovative thinking as possible. Mixing up of people from multiple teams bring new perspectives. Breaking the traditional line management hierarchies allow people to speak up and communicate more efficiently. Having a mission, a shared set of values and associated behaviours provide the team with the core ingredients they will need during tough times. Typically with the introduction of innovation to a group, there are three dimensions people are interested in. These are: 1. Problem solving People would join in the innovation efforts because they want a resolution to a particular challenge. They may or may not have an idea on the solution

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Digital Leadership in Libraries

I have been meaning to write something about this topic for quite some time. In fact, I really want us to do something about this and do it now. As far as I can tell and feel, we are reaching a stage where there is a very shallow pool of digital leaders left in Libraries. We need to take some actions to resolve this situation but our actions at the moment are counter productive for development of digital leadership in Libraries for many reasons. Here is my viewpoint. While I am generalising here, most digital leaders in Libraries start their journey as a technical advocate, developer or professional. They are problem solvers who are brought up in an environment where every problem has a logical solution. They are in control of producing this solution themselves. They don’t have to depend on anyone else. For a technical person, there is a very unique and powerful sense of empowerment and satisfaction when an issue or a bug is resolved or when a new feature is deployed. You should never underestimate the power of this feeling. However, this environment doesn’t require them to develop skills in areas of negotiation, adjustments, give and take,

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IGeLU 2016 conference – Initial thoughts and perspectives

I am on my way back from IGeLU 2016 conference and developers day which was held in beautiful Trondheim, Norway. For those of you who are not familiar with IGeLU conference, it is the largest conference of Ex Libris users in the world (apart from North America) with almost 500 participants from around the world. I was representing Lancaster University Library along with my colleagues John Krug (who is the coordinator of the Analytics SIG and our Systems and Analytics Manager) and Liz Hartley (Assistant Librarian – User Services). In my opinion, there was a definite shift in the focus of IGeLU this year. There were a lot more sessions on Alma, Leganto, campusM and Primo (especially on the new Primo User Interface) and far fewer on Aleph, Voyager, SFX and other products. This also highlights the direction in which Ex Libris wants to move forward and it was clear that Ex Libris has intentions to be a stakeholder in almost all institutional activities related to teaching and learning, research and user engagement. The next area of interest for them is research data management and open access which is an area close to my heart too. At this time, Ex

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The importance of good mentoring

For a few days now, thoughts and ideas have been bubbling in my mind about the future direction of research support and digital systems at Lancaster University Library. However, I also noticed that my thinking was overtaken by concerns surrounding the ideas rather than what those ideas would mean in practice. I wasn’t sure what to do next, I was feeling a bit lost and unsure. I did what any good leader would do in a situation of uncertainty, I asked for help from one of my mentors. I have been very privileged at Lancaster University to have not one but two mentors over the past couple of years. One of my mentors is from professional services and the other mentor from Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. This has helped me tremendously to broaden my exposure and flourish in my capability. Today I want to talk about good mentorship. Good mentors can help you shape your thoughts in your own way. They can take you back to the basics, challenge you and help you question things in the most helpful and appropriate fashion. They help you strip complex ideas into smaller pieces, allowing you to achieve clarity of thinking

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Practical design!

Practical design does not anticipate what will happen to your application, it merely accepts that something will and that, in the present, you cannot know what. It doesn’t guess the future; it preserves your options for accommodating the future. It doesn’t choose; it leaves you room to move. Practical Object-Oriented Design in Ruby, Sandi Metz

#bonington – the journey is only beginning.

Today was the concluding session for the #bonington leadership programme at Lancaster University. For those of you who don’t know much about this particular programme, it is aimed at future and aspiring leaders of the University, building our own capacity to lead from within but also to build the workforce that can instigate change, provide challenge, and encourage diversity of thinking. At the end of the session, Lois, our wonderful convener of the programme, asked how we felt in our individual journeys throughout the programme. I will be honest. When we started six months ago, we were a group of skeptical (ok may be partly skeptical) individuals who wanted to know more about leadership and progression. We have now become a group of forward looking, emotionally intelligent and empowered individuals who want to work together in many directions. We have not yet transitioned into effective teams, although there have been glimpses of that throughout as well and we are not far off from reaching that stage. Most importantly, we have formed a network of colleagues that we can call upon, that we can share with, that we can rely upon. I did not realise how emotionally invested I have been

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Leadership – how it all started for me!

Some of you may know that I am currently involved in a leadership program at Lancaster University called the Bonington Programme. The programme intends to enhance performance and develop potential, establishing future leaders for the University and only a handful of people are selected on the programme every year. Being part of this programme made me realise that I have never truly captured my own leadership journey and this is what I will attempt to do in several blog posts. In my opinion, moving up the leadership ladder is a very personal journey. Thinking about it, if I jump back 8 years in this journey, I used to question myself whether leadership is ever right for me? My thinking at the time was leadership comes naturally, you are born with it, I am not sure I am ready for it and importantly, I really enjoy what I do currently. I would have classified myself as a self proclaimed geek, developing library systems, enjoying my job. Development of systems and services can be a challenging role. For me, it was enjoyable yet frustrating. The frustrations often came from not being able to make a difference or change at a strategic level.

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Strategy, Leadership, Innovation and Code Monkeyism

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