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A Day in the Life of a Leader 2019: Tamika Barnes

A Day in the Life of a Leader 2019: Tamika Barnes


[ Silence ]>>My name is Cheryl Stenstrom,
and along with Drs. Susan Alman and Debra Hicks, I co-chair the
Leadership and Management Advisory Committee at San Jose State University’s I School. We have a number of advisory committees at
the I School, but this one is very active. And so following a successful four
part webinar series on leadership that we presented last spring, the members
of that advisory committee recommended that we continue to present
featured guests at least once a year. So this is the fifth in our Day in
the Life of a Leader webinar series. You can find recordings of the previous
four webinars on the I School’s website. And this session is also being recorded. And I see that the recording
has just been turned on. So you can refer your colleagues
to it after the fact as well. I’d like to quickly move
on and introduce our guest. Tamika Barnes is with us today. And she came to us very highly
recommended as someone who could speak to what it means to be an effective leader. So we’re really thrilled that
she’s agreed to do this for us. She’s the department head for Perimeter
Library Services at Georgia State University. And that’s a position that
oversees the work of five libraries on the campuses in the Metro Atlanta area. She was previously the library director at
Georgia Perimeter College Dunwoody Campus. Tamika’s also worked in a variety of other library settings
including being the library director at the US Environmental Protection
Agency, the head of reference at North Carolina A&T State University,
and the engineering services librarian at North Carolina State University. She received her MLS from NCCU and her
BA in biology from UNC Chapel Hill. And she stays very active in the profession
and has served in a variety of positions for the Special Libraries Association,
the North Carolina Chapter of SLA, the American Library Association, and
the North Carolina Library Association, as well as the Georgia Library
Association now that she’s moved. And she’s currently serving
on the executive board for the ALA and as Georgia’s ALA counselor. So I would like to give Tamika
a very warm welcome on behalf of my colleagues and the whole committee. And I will say that she is going to speak
for the first part of our hour together and then we’ll open the floor for questions
when she’s done giving her presentation. So, welcome, Tamika. I will turn it over to you and you can start
sharing your desktop anytime you’re ready.>>Thanks again for participating
in today’s webinar. Once again, my name is Tamika Barnes. I am the department head at Georgia State
University for the Perimeter Library Services. So can you say that three times fast? I think each time I’ve moved up in
positions, my title’s gotten longer. But what I want to talk about today
is why I chose a leadership position, kind of my career path, responsibilities
and challenges, some rewards, and advice that I would share with those
who want to pursue this path in leadership. And then also allow plenty of time for us to
have a dialogue with each other just about this and any questions that you may have. So to get started, because I want to
make sure that we get through this, everyone has different reasons
for moving into leadership. Some may say they, you know, enjoy
being the go-to, top person, the power. Some may say that they want it to be
honestly the financial benefits of it. And for some people, it’s part
of their plan from the beginning when they are entering library school. And for others it’s maybe like a slower
trajectory in going into management. I would say that for me personally it
was one that I thought I would go into, but it happened a lot faster than I anticipated. I would also say that I probably
went into it, like some, with a little bit of reservation
about can I do this? Is this the right time for me to do it? And so forth. Once I did decide to go for
it, I chose leadership because I wanted to make a difference. So I wanted to make a difference both
to like the people that I work with and then also the users of the library. I was one that, you know, if I had opinions
about how things could work differently, then I wanted to be one where
not just to give my suggestions to make things better and
have them maybe considered. I wanted to actually be at the
table and could influence change. I also saw leadership as part of
being kind of an advocate for those that didn’t currently have a voice at the
table, whether that was for diversity issues, pay issues, or even services
that we provided to our users and suggestions from them and from the staff. And that’s just kind of a few things
that I considered along the way. So I want to just kind of take you– those
that know me, know I’m like kind of the, there’s the theory and the case studies. I’m a case study type person. So I’m one that kind of want to walk
you through I did it as a case study. Like this is how I did it. This is one way. But kind of a way to kind of see if
there’s any ways that you can kind of relate to my path into leadership. So one thing I want to say is that I didn’t
always start in a leadership position. How I officially got there. I began my library career as a paraprofessional at North Carolina State University
in the acquisitions department. So I worked there full time
while attending library school. And after receiving my degree, I became the
engineering reference services librarian right there at North Carolina State University. So as the title hints, I was the subject
specialist, one of two, who provided references and instruction for the College of Engineering. In that position, I also worked at the main
library desk providing reference services in person, on the phone, and via chat. During that time chat was one of the newest
things that we were doing and very busy. My time there, I worked at both the main
library, the textiles branch library, which was actually located on a
different campus but within the same city, and then was relocated back to the main
library after some organizational changes. Despite my physical location, I
worked the general reference desk, like I said, and monitored chat. So I’m not sure about many of you on the
call, but I’ve always been one to kind of look at job announcements and descriptions of what
I thought my next job or my dream job would be. And as I was looking at positions that
I thought I wanted to go into next, I saw that a lot of the supervisory positions
wanted you to already have supervisory skills. And so I was like, well how
am I supposed to do that? It was kind of like a Catch 22 because the way
our positions were structured in our library and lots of other libraries, there
wasn’t kind of that transitional step to get you those type skills
within the organization. So what I did is that I went to my assistant
department head at the time and kind of told her and explained to her just kind of my career
goals and that I was interested in supervising in the future and asked if I could
shadow her and then assist her with supervising the library
school graduate students that worked our reference desk
mainly in the evenings and weekends. She was amenable with and allowed me to assist
at first just helping out with just hiring, so sitting in on the interviews, helping
develop the questions that we were going to ask, and even in the decision making of who
we were actually going to bring on. She then later gave me the responsibility
to organize the training for our new hires. And within a year, I was
given the responsibility of supervising the graduate students full time. I would like to think it was because
I was doing a really good job, but it was probably also
honestly a win-win for both of us because although managing the graduate
students was a highlight in her day, allowing me to do it gave her the time to
work on more of the strategic initiatives and programs and things like that
that were required of her position. But it also helped me because it allowed me
to get that kind of supervisory experience under my belt to help me get my next job. So now I was in a leadership role,
but did not necessarily have a title. And for me that was okay because this was, like
I said, my first go around at supervisory– librarianship was my first career, so I didn’t
have like other experiences to bring into it. So I looked at this as a safe way to kind of
develop my skills and still have the safety net of my assistant department head right
there to assist me when I needed to or give me guidance and feedback. So in this position I was
actually able to make some changes and help develop some future librarians,
some of which I’m fortunate enough to still be in contact with today. They are doing like awesome things. So this first experience allowed me
to make my next move surprisingly into a department head position
at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, which is
located in Greensboro, North Carolina. In this position, I was able to supervise
five librarians and a student worker. So as you can imagine, it was a very
different experience supervising and having to support librarians versus graduate students. The needs are different in what they have,
the requirements of them are different, and so that was kind of something
I had to work through in that role. But here, using some past experiences
that I had at NC State I was able to kind of implement a curriculum integrated instruction
program that was modeled from something that we had done at North Carolina
State in the College of Engineering. So as in with lots of roles as
we move into them, you know, you will find that you will reach back
and use various experiences to build upon. And I feel like that first position was just
laying what I feel was a very solid foundation for me to build on. From there, my next step in the career path was to then Environmental Protection
Agency as a contract employee. And there I was considered the library director. And just a little bit of brief background with
this type of position, the contract was actually under the University of North Carolina
Chapel Hill, their Library School. And they had had the contract for a number of
years whereas other EPA location libraries are under more of a management company. So here I was able to supervise less librarians
than I had at A&T, so I only had three, but now I was able to kind of add to my tools
supervising paraprofessionals and responsible for an internship program that had about
seven to ten library school students depending on the year and the funding that we had. And those library school students were
able to work with us 20 hours a week, get tuition assistance, and also get paid. So it was like they were in a professional
type environment and position but, you know, only had to work 20 hours a week. So this program really helped get even
more librarians out there into the future. And so it was a really sense of pride
in the library there at the EPA both for the contract workers who worked
there and then also the federal workers who had been working with us over the years. In that library, my responsibility kind of
increased, you know, had less library staff, but I had now responsibilities for
overseeing, you know, the traditional services of the library, which included reference
and instruction, interlibrary loan, and now really the responsibility
for providing print and electronic resources to the sciences there. In this position here, one of the things
that I feel like I learned and kind of started advocating or using some of my
advocacy skills, which I think is important in a leader, was to work with when we got our
contract renewed again was to allow the hiring of library school students
from the area library schools and not just from UNC who had the contract. And so that took some negotiation and
some both between the federal side and within the library school
to figure out, you know, how we would get them paid and things like that. But I felt it was important to kind
of open that experience up since in that area there’s a number of library
schools just so that everybody had that kind of opportunity to participate in. But after five years of being in that contract
position and going through one of the times that they had the furlough, nothing
compared to what they recently went through, that and other things, I just
decided that really I felt like I could be more effective in academia. And so I made the transition. So not only did I leave and come back to
academia, but I moved to an entirely new state. So I kind of left my close
network and support system and just kind of went for it for a new role. So my next job was the library director at the
Dunwoody Campus at Georgia Perimeter College, which is or was an associates or two
year degree granting institution. So the way in this role I increased the
number of people I was responsible for and now lead the Dunwoody Campus
which had five librarians, three staff members, and a
number of student workers. So still a relatively small
staff that I was responsible for. And we serviced probably close
to 9,000 students on this campus. But one of the things and kind of the
transitional moment in my leadership and professional career is that I
was specifically told by my manager that I was hired to implement change. So all those things that I’ve been
reading about and learning about as far as being a leader I was like, “Oh no, now I’m
actually going to have to put those in practice and implement the change that
he was expecting from me.” So little did I know that was going to be kind
of the initial beginning of some involvement with some major change management that
was going to happen with our institution, which leads me to where I am now. So as a department head of Perimeter Library
Services, now I oversee the 5 Perimeter campuses that have a total of 16 librarians, 24 or
so give or take full and part time staff. It’s always ebb and flow. I feel like every time I feel like
we’re going to be 100% fully staffed, I get a new resignation usually
for promotional things. And so, you know, we want people to move
and grow, but it’s just like, “Oh no. We can never get it at 100%.” And we also employ student
workers at our five campuses. And those numbers vary from
semester to semester. One of the major challenges in moving into this
role, which happened after our consolidation and I’ll tell you a little bit about that next, but we kind of operated our
five libraries independently. And now we were being asked to operate
as one department and me in this role. And our campuses, for those who aren’t familiar, are geographically dispersed
throughout Metro Atlanta. So the furthest campus is my Newton Campus, which is a good hour away mileage
wise not including Atlanta traffic. So kind of being over and supervising people
and various campuses can be a challenge. And I just feel like that’s where one of the
other things that I feel is very important with a leader is kind of
communication in any way we can get it. So are using WebX and our
phone and email and picking up the phone sometimes is just the easiest
and fastest way to get things done. But also, in this role, trying to make sure
that now that we are one department we need to function that way and follow
like all the policies and procedures because our students also
go from campus to campus. Sometimes they may take classes at our
main campus, at our Dunwoody campus, and then the following semester
take it at a neighboring campus. And so we just don’t know. So we want to make sure that we are
providing the same service across the board. So as you can see kind of moving through my
career path and having these various titles, like sometimes the title doesn’t
necessarily dictate the level of responsibility that you may or may not have. So I have department head
now, which is very different from when I was a department
head at North Carolina A&T. So that’s one thing I would say as you’re kind
of moving and looking at new roles and things like that to just really have a good
understanding about what it will entail, like what this position will have you do. I feel like looking back over
my time in leadership positions, that at the beginning it was
really about the mechanics. Like almost like a checklist. Like how do I do this? Like this is how I hire, step one,
step two, step three, you know. This is what I need to do. Learning about the best practices
for scheduling and things like that. Using the systems to approve time cards. That’s like at every institution I’ve
been to, it’s always a little different. And then really starting to understand
more the HR processes such as hiring and unfortunately sometimes
terminating employees. And then I transitioned to being kind of
responsible for the training of staff, whether that was me actually
doing it or delegating and bringing in teams of people to help. Throughout I’ve had some aspect of
budget, whether it was just, you know, when I was at North Carolina State where it
was just my student budget and to make sure that we didn’t go over or seeing if
there were times that we could bring them in to do extra projects and things like that. So really having an understanding about how
the budget worked, when the budget cycles were, because at each institution I’ve
work at, it’s a little different. And now my kind of budget responsibilities have
increased and extended passed just the staff, but also including like resources,
furniture, travel budgets, and allocating that and how do you, you know, do that and be
equitable so that all staff kind of have that opportunity to travel and things like that. And now more with the responsibilities I see it
more like transitioning more into the visionary. So before in my other positions I could
be like, “Well, I wish we did this.” And now it’s like my expectation is that I will
be that visionary and the person who’s going to help with the goal setting for not just the
individuals but as the department and how we fit into just kind of the strategic
plan of the library as a whole and then also within the university. So of course with all these various
responsibilities that you have, and usually in addition to
other job responsibilities, because it’s not just the supervisor. In some cases people are still, you know,
working the reference desk and supervising or responsible for a program and supervising. I’m fortunate now that the majority of my time
can be spent on the administrative aspects of things, but there’s still other
responsibilities that I have as well. And with all this, of course,
there are some challenges. So the making and communicating
difficult decisions. Sometimes the decisions are made for
you and you have to communicate them. You may not always agree with
them, but that’s the decision that is made and must be followed through. And then I would say some of the
other challenges were like having to take disciplinary actions when necessary. I had to kind of learn that. Sometimes it’s easier to kind of just kind
of ignore it and hope that it fixes itself, but as I’ve been in this position or in this
role in librarianship for almost 20 years now, ignoring it doesn’t really solve it. And I’ve worked at places where it’s kind of then made the workplace,
in some cases, almost toxic. And so you want to kind of really
have to deal with those things, whether they happened while you were there
or you inherited situations coming in, like I’ve had in some situations. However, it’s just those situations
that you have to deal with. One of the other things I also had
to kind of learn and work through is that when I would initially setup meetings
with staff, they would instantly go into panic mode and think something was wrong. And I was like, “Uh, no I just kind of
want to check in and see how you are doing. See how I can help you. I know you’re working on a project.” And then later I found out that everybody
hasn’t had that experience with someone in leadership roles or management
roles that were like that. And most of the time their experience, their
past experiences, have been that the only time that they met with the supervisor
was when something was wrong or when they were getting their evaluations. And so that was kind of a culture shift that
I had to do here in my current situation. I then also have it a lot of times my door
is open, probably to my own detriment. It’s my open door policy. But I had a part time person at the time
kind of come close and I was like, “Come in.” And they were like, “I’ve worked here
at this institution for like,” you know, five years at that point and they had
never been in the manager’s office. And I was like, “Oh.” So those are kind of the
challenges, just kind of culture that sometimes you may have to deal with. Conflict management, whether that is I would
say peer to peer or now in my case dealing with supervisors and staff, and
just kind of working through that. Or even patron-staff conflict
management or, you know, faculty and how they may interact with my staff. Or just the expectations on both fronts and
kind of managing that is one of those things that I’ve really had to work
on personally for myself. And then know mistakes are going to happen. Sometimes we have to make decisions
really quickly for whatever reason and then sometimes we made a decision
that we thought was the best at the time. And I feel like it’s more about how you
handle those missteps that’s important. And then sometimes you’re external
factors change, which, you know, will cause like what decision you
made to seem like not the best one. The fortunate thing is a lot of times we
can revisit and revise and move forward and just kind of making sure that if that’s
a mistake that I made or even my staff I feel like as far as in this leadership role, to
be like that’s going to happen and it’s okay. I feel like if we’re going to
be as innovative as we want to be, everything’s not going to work. And then that’s why we have pilots
and tests and things like that so that we can make the necessary changes. And then I would say one of the challenges is,
if it happens with you, is that I have moved from a coworker peer to peer to then like a
supervisor-employee relationship with people, which can be kind of awkward
for both parties involved. But however, I feel like that’s something that
can be overcome with good communication and kind of sometimes in some cases some boundaries
that are set, you know, for things. And then also now just kind of side note type
thing, my after hour invitations to places kind of diminished because, you
know, nobody wants the boss around in case they want to talk about work. So that was just one of the
things where I’m like, “Oh, this isn’t what I anticipated or expected.” But with all of that, there is a silver
lining and sunshine in all of this. Being in leadership allows you to actively
set the direction of your department, your unit, your library, whatever may be. And that’s rewarding. To be able to recognize people’s talents
and strengths and assigning them, you know, tasks that kind of highlight those and
gets them excited, excites me, right? It’s a very rewarding experience. And then as you’re in these various leadership
roles and you’re able to develop your team, whether that means providing the training
that’s necessary or hiring a person that kind of sees your vision and can move it
forward, is also a rewarding experience. And then also the implementing positive change. So not just change for change sake, but change
that will benefit our users or something that they really requested and
we were able to make it happen. So for instance, our students here at one of
the campuses have been asking for extended hours for during finals since I
got here five years ago. And we were finally able, with
this consolidation and everything, able to do that for them for the first time. And they were truly appreciative of that because
they’ve realized that we were listening to them, but also that there were other things that we
had to work through and we brought them in on that process and they really appreciated that. That just comes also with building
relationships across the organization, so really getting outside of the library. I feel as my leadership roles have expanded,
it’s kind of helped me and pushed me outside of the confines of the library building
itself, which has been beneficial too because we can be part of larger
conversations within the organization. And there’s things that we’ve been
involved with whereas even a year or so ago I don’t think we would have because
they don’t always think of the library as a place to kind of help
with things sometimes. And so, you know, for instance with this one
we’ve been involved with the conversation of setting up food pantries on two of
our five campuses on the Perimeter side because of the food insecurity
that our students are facing. And that’s just kind of one of those
things that just you are a part of the holistic experience of the students. And the library can play
an important part in that. I want to give you just a kind of example of
really what I’ve been going through as far as leading some change since
2016, I can’t believe it, that we’re still working through this. In January 2015, the Georgia Board of
Regents announced the consolidation of Georgia Perimeter College
and Georgia State University. So a two year granting institution
and a university. So as you can imagine there
was a lot of stress, anxiety, excitement as well that went along with that. And at the time, I was just
over the Dunwoody Campus. So when we consolidated and the slide
right here just kind of gives you an idea of our student populations
for the various institutions. Whereas our downtown campus, Georgia State,
big university, their demographics was 25% of their student were part time; whereas, our two year institution about
63% of our students were. And you can see the other things where, you
know, our age, percentage of students 25 and older was a little different. But as far as like first generation,
our student to faculty ratio, they were close to similar in that. But one of the other things that
was a big difference is that 19% of our students were enrolled only in
online classes, which kind of lends itself because a lot of our things are
workplace development in addition to [inaudible] granting institution. So with this consolidation now, it allows
our students a more direct pipeline in case they wanted to move on in their
academic career and get a four year degree. So some of the things that I had to
manage with myself and the staff included, because a lot of things were happening and
it seemed like they were happening fast. So a new dean was announced for
the libraries who was not part of either institution in January 2016. And that’s when we were officially
consolidating. That March, the new structure for Perimeter
was announced where we were now going to be under the dean and that our titles
would change from library directors to now me being department head and
those at each of the other campuses who were library directors are
now associate department heads. So a little title shift, some responsibility
shift too, but mainly with that, it was titles. I was promoted in April 2016 to department
head after my then manager retired. Our technical services department that we
had here at Georgia Perimeter was distributed because they consolidated that
department since we no longer needed it for on the Georgia Perimeter side, which goes to
one of those hard decisions that we had to make. And then redistribute staff
throughout the library. But fortunately we didn’t have
to riff anyone or let anyone go. Some people chose to and
then others we were able to find other departments and
positions for them to go to. I was able to hire associate department heads. Then my faculty, my librarians, had to go
through a new evaluation and promotion process, which was very different than
what we were currently on. We announced that the way we had our part
timers, we saw it wasn’t following processes and procedures that it needed to. So we were going to have to
let them go as of July of 2017. And then on top of all of that,
we switched from Voyager to Alma, like we didn’t have enough stress and
anxiety and new responsibilities going on. So that’s just kind of some of the
things and leading through change and making those hard decisions, but
still moving forward that I had to do. So I would say as far as advice
to any of you that are listening, I would say apply your skills
from previous experiences. I was one that didn’t have
a career prior to coming in and I think sometimes people don’t
highlight what they’ve done in other things or either other associations or volunteer
organizations and things like that. Seek out mentors. Sometimes mentors are for a seasons
and not forever, and that’s okay. I’ve participated in both formal
mentoring programs and then also informal and they both have benefited
me at different times. Be introspective of yourself too as a leader
because as you develop and work on yourself, I think it helps with helping lead others. I recently just did the Strength Finders. Was fascinated at what my five
top strengths they said I had. But one of the things was, and what my five
lower strengths were, where I was like, “Oh yes, and this is why I depend on
this person because they have that strength and can help me with that.” And I would say look for
opportunities to develop your skills, whether that’s within professional associations,
formal leadership institutes, over even at work. Our university has various programs and
things that we can participate in that I feel like sometimes we don’t take
advantage of like we could. So those are just kind of some of the things. Of course, depending on your situation,
and the type of environment you’re in, there would be other things
that I would suggest. But kind of overall no matter what I think these
are some of the things that one should focus on. So, I thank you for that formal
part and would like to open it up to any questions that any of you may have.>>Well, thank you Tamika. That was wonderful. I’ve got two questions and I don’t want
to take up all the time from other people, but you have been very involved in
the American Library Association.>>Yes.>>And if you could talk about your path
through professional associations and the kinds of opportunities that people should take. We’ve got some current students and we
have professionals here with us today. But if you could talk about what people need to
do for networking and professional associations. And I also see that Debra’s put
something in the chat as well, so I’ll let her have the second question.>>Okay. So yeah. My path has been, probably from the
very beginning when I was a student, because I was part of the Spectrum Scholars
Program, so I was part of that first cohort. And so being involved in something like
that kind of exposed me to the association that I think more than others initially have. And so that kind of helped me
pinpoint kind of where I wanted to be. I would say networking is key. Some of the committees and the projects
I’ve been able to assist with has been because of just kind of being there and
helping out and participating and then moving up into kind of leading those efforts. I think professional associations
can kind of be what you make of it and how much you put into it. Right now I know we have a situation on our
hands that we’re dealing with but that’s part of it and just kind of working and
growing and learning with each other. I would say that when those calls for
volunteers come out, fill out those forms because we can’t select people if
they don’t fill the information out. And then also just kind of
reach out to people who are in those roles to see how you can assist. Kind of much like I did with my, you know,
first thing with supervising graduate students and then, you know, moving into other things. It happens that way in the association too. You know, like, “Can I help?” And then they see what to do and then also
see your capabilities and your commitment and then willing to give you
other things to do as well.>>Thank you. And I see that Debra’s question was the same.>>Oh okay.>>We have another question
over here on the chat saying, “I want to pursue a leadership career track. I learned I must be willing to seek out
job opportunities, which will allow me to have supervisory leadership roles.” So if you would like to address that, Tamika, and to maybe make a distinction
on management versus leadership. That’s something that we’re talking
about in our management course this week.>>Yeah.>>So if you look at that. And then the second one I believe, “I
appreciated your comments about how to get supervisory experience when all
of the job announcements require it. Your strategy of offering
to assist your supervisor to obtain some of these skills was brilliant.” I’ll let you respond to both of those.>>Yeah. Wanting to take that career track and
knowing that sometimes is really beneficial too. And then I would say also in
those cases, and it kind of loops in with the job announcements saying
that they want certain skills. Sometimes they’re required and
then sometimes they’re desired. And then what I found was that some people, if they don’t meet all the desireds they
also don’t go forward and I say go for it. To me, you let them tell you no. You don’t exclude yourself from
the search from the beginning. And then trying to make that first leap
into it, I think that’s when you really have to leverage kind of your past experiences. Maybe you haven’t had the supervisory
experience, but you lead a group or a project within, you know, a sorority or
a volunteer organization or things like that to show that you know kind of that process
and how to motivate and get something done. I would say and also in the cases
with the professional association, that’s where I got some of my budget
experience that I could then have an example to talk about, like we had to put on a program. We had X amount of money. We had to stay within budget. Or we, you know, sought out other
resources to kind of supplement. And then to kind of show that you are one
that’s willing to kind of look at other avenues and opportunities and be innovative in your
approach, I think, is one of those things. And then managing versus leading, I feel
like with me at the beginning I feel like I was just truly just kind
of managing, like really just kind of this is what I’m supposed to do. I’m supposed to approve time. I’m supposed to, you know, follow this HR
process to hire people on and I did it. But now as far as leading you within
leadership, yes you’ve got to still manage, but with the leadership I just feel
like it’s opening up so much more. Like you really have to be
that visionary to help assist with bringing forth what the
plan is, whether it’s your plan or the college president’s plan
or the business owner’s plan. No matter what the environment is in,
like you really have to think outside of your day to day in that leadership role. And then with some, you know,
some people just have it where leadership is you’re inspiring others. You know how to delegate, you know. You know how to kind of work as a
team to move that vision forward. I think that’s important as well. But it is hard. It is hard that first getting
your foot in the door for those leadership positions
can be a tough road. But I say kind of just keep going for it
and look for people who are willing to kind of help you in that process or provide
you with some projects or things like that to add to your skill set along the way.>>Well, I know with some of our current
students, they are coming in as career changers. But many of the students are
coming straight from undergrad. And as you said, Tamika, any
kind of a leadership role, whether it was in an extracurricular
activity, if it was in academics, and I would encourage everybody
to join student organizations now. And they’re looking for officers,
that’s one great way to show your leadership as
well as through internships.>>Oh yes.>>So I think there’s some ways that
you can get skills that can transfer into the skills that are needed in libraries.>>And I would say even those, especially those
that are coming in, you know, second career and have those other experiences,
actually doing an internship and working in the library can be very beneficial. Because it can tell you what you like and
even things that you don’t like as much. I know plenty of people who thought
they were going to be, you know, all about technical services or whatever
and having the experience in the internship and worked a reference desk and
fell in love with that aspect. Or realized they really don’t like
teaching as much as they thought they would. So it can work both ways to kind of
help you experiment and figure it out now before moving forward
into your permanent job.>>Does anybody else have any questions? You can either take the microphone
or type something in chat. You’ve got an expert here,
so take advantage of it.>>So, Tamika, this is Cheryl. Just while we’re waiting to see if anyone else
has any questions, I have a quick one, Tamika, for you and I’m not sure if
I’ve got the wording right. You have moved around to a
number of different work places. You’ve moved within those organizations,
but also you’ve gone to new organizations. And I’m wondering if there are any
characteristics or traits or things that you do specifically when you are new to
an organization that help you assert yourself as a leader, regardless of your position. So if there are things that you consciously or
unconsciously maybe ensure that you do right at the beginning when you’re,
you know, people don’t know you. They don’t know your style yet. And things that you want to kind of portray to
put people at ease with your leadership style.>>Oh excellent question. One of the things that I have done at each
kind of new organization that I’ve gone to is really let them know
that I’m to listen first. Like I may have ideas coming in the
door, but I really want to listen and understand both what they
do in the organization more. And so I would setup initial meetings with
people when I first start and then also maybe like a month or so into it because
as I learn things and have questions, I want to depend on them as the experts
that have been going through this and use, like I said, their talents and skills. So I’ve done that. And then I’ve kind of also setup where in some
organizations they didn’t have regular meetings for them to kind of meet as a group. So I make sure to establish that as well. Sometimes our meetings are more
of just kind of idea sharing and then other times it’s been more kind
of a formal structure of reporting out. So it gives them a chance to
kind of see that I’m willing to listen to them and solicit their ideas. I also feel like just kind of communicating
various things to them up front, whether that’s in those meetings
and then following it up in a email so that they knew that, you know, I’m
serious about certain things like policies and procedures you just have
to follow and things like that. But there’s flexibility in things like that. And I also communicate with them like if
they have a problem, something I’ve done, something that we’re going through, to
make sure that we have that dialogue. And I know that can’t be easy for some people,
like I said, depending on what they’re, you know, relationship with their
supervisors have been in the past, but also I know that sometimes I have to
practice patience because it’s going to take– people change at different rates. And realizing that has been
beneficial to me as well.>>That’s great. And certainly those are key points
that you showed that, you know, you really walked that talk
when you talked earlier about making sure you have an open door
and, you know, disarming that sort of people who always thought meetings were bad news
only and changing the culture and the tone. So, that’s wonderful. And I think, you know, that formal and
informal communication, both sides of that, are really important in terms of making
people– demonstrating that you listen to them. Great.>>Well, I think we’re out of time.>>Oh okay.>>But thank you, Tamika, so much. We really appreciate you taking time. We know you’re very busy
with professional activities, with the associations, with your job. And the information that you’ve
given here will be really valuable. We get lots of people who download the
webinars, so this will be spread widely. Debra or Cheryl, any last things? And I will sign off for now.>>Just to thank you so much
for participating, Tamika. It was really wonderful. I enjoyed it. And we’re thrilled that you could take
the time out for us at the I School. Debra?>>I appreciate it very much and my email is
up there and I put it up there for you to use. So please if anybody thinks of some
questions afterwards, feel free to reach out.>>Yeah, I just want to echo what
both Sue and Cheryl have said, Tamika. Thank you so much. I’m really excited to share
this with my students. I think that a lot of what you said will be
inspirational and sort of give them an idea of just how realistic these jobs are and how
exciting they can be, so thank you very much.

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