[Insert clever leadership quote here] by Dan Livesey

The concept of leadership development is really popular at the moment. It has probably been mentioned within your workplace, you may have been on a course where it has been covered. If you do a bit a reading around on the subject, you will find that there are plenty of quotations which are used to try and explain what leadership is. Here are my favourites:

#1. ‘First rule of leadership: everything is your fault’- A Bug’s Life

#2. ‘You do not lead by hitting people over the head — that’s assault, not leadership’- Dwight D. Eisenhower

Fortunately the CILIP Leadership Programme is a bit more than just clever quotes and advises against blame… and assault.

In May this year I was one of 20 people chosen to participate in the new CILIP Leadership Programme. Both the NHS and CILIP have acknowledged that there is a need for additional leadership development and the CILIP scheme will look to support a number of candidates throughout a year in their professional lives. What is key to the programme is that leadership isn’t just one skill which you learn, it is a combination of things that are developed over time through experience and experimentation.

On a warm day in Liverpool, the programme was launched. Colleagues from various sectors converged on the Holiday Inn and set about getting to know each other. After meeting the programme leaders, we were encouraged to get together for some speed networking. The energy in the room was really encouraging and everyone had 20-30 seconds with every other person on the programme to introduce themselves and discuss a little bit about what they do. I met with professionals working in cataloguing, academic liaison, public libraries, meta-data and school libraries.

There will be a number of opportunities for the group to meet up again but the majority of the work will take place virtually. The CILIP VLE will be used as an area for discussions and a wiki which will allow us to share leadership resources. Other elements to the course include webinars, group projects and visiting speakers. During the launch Nick Poole (CILIP Chief Executive), Jan Perry (CILIP President) and Simon Edwards (CILIP Director of Professional Services) all spoke about their own leadership experiences. Each had similar themes but the overall message seemed to be that a leader is generally not defined by job title.

Central to all CILIP development opportunities is the Professional Knowledge and Skills Base (PKSB). Prior to the start of the programme, all participants were asked to complete a PKSB analysis which would help us to identify areas within leadership where we might like to improve our skills. We were then split in to groups to discuss how we could do this. I found this really helpful as I came away with some interesting opportunities to explore. Areas I was keen to develop included advocacy, demonstrating impact and service innovation.

During lunch there were more networking opportunities. Members of the CILIP Board and various CILIP Trustees attended the lunch time session and we were all given the chance to chat about their own leadership experience and how this had contributed towards their work within CILIP.

After lunch we were split up again but this time to concentrate on group projects. Various Special Interest Groups (SIGs) such as the Health Libraries Group (HLG) had recommended projects which would improve their relationships with their members. The 4 groups would be focusing on member network engagement, the member network CPD offer, equality and diversity strategies and greater support for lone workers. I will be working on the CPD offer. The work carried out by this group will look to support future development opportunities for CILIP members. Progress reports will be requested by programme organisers and we will be required to keep SIGs up to date.

If you are interested in the CILIP Health Libraries Group CPD offer or would like to share any thoughts on what you would like to see from HLG CPD programme then please feel free to e-mail me Daniel.livesey@mhsc.nhs.uk.

Finally the day ended with time to reflect on the first day of the programme. I met some amazing people during the day and I quickly realised that while many were facing difficult challenges in their work places, there was so much excitement and enthusiasm in the room. I would recommend looking in to leadership if you have the chance. The CILIP programme will initially run for one year but there are plenty of other programmes and resources available where you can learn more. I have included a few links below.

While I did say that the CILIP programme was more than just quotes, one particular quotation was used at the end of the day. It seemed to leave us all with the sense that we had a lot of work to do:

‘Becoming a leader is synonymous with becoming yourself. It is precisely that simple, and it is also that difficult’- Warren Bennis

Dan Livesey
Health Information and Resources Library Supervisor
Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust

CILIP, 2015, The CILIP Leadership Programme. [Online] Available at: <http://www.cilip.org.uk/cilip/about/projects-reviews/cilip-leadership-programme> [accessed 22nd July 2015]

Harvard Business Review, 2015, Assessment: What’s Your Leadership Style?. [Online] <https://hbr.org/2015/06/assessment-whats-your-leadership-style> [accessed 22nd July 2015]

Harvard Business Review, 2015, Level 5 Leadership: The Triumph of Humility and Fierce Resolve. [Online] < https://hbr.org/2005/07/level-5-leadership-the-triumph-of-humility-and-fierce-resolve> [accessed 22nd July 2015]

Health Service Journal, 2015, Leadership. [Online] < http://www.hsj.co.uk/leadership/> [accessed 22nd July 2015]

NHS Leadership Academy, 2015, Programmes. [Online] Available at: <http://www.leadershipacademy.nhs.uk/programmes> [accessed 22nd July 2015]

Ted Talks, 2015, Leadership. [Online] Available at: <https://www.ted.com/topics/leadership> [accessed 22nd July 2015]

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