If you asked what was leadership all about, and what a leadership programme should include, you could ask 1,000 people and get 1,000 different answers. Here’s what we suggest for the LIBER Emerging Leaders Programme, awaiting you in Patras 2017 and Lille 2018

Without self-awareness you’re more or less sunk. You can’t change what you’re unaware of. So shine a light on your blind spots. You must find out what they are first. Honest, open and perhaps challenging self-awareness is mission-critical for effective leadership. You probably know what you have to do, but we will ask you to complete several self-assessment and profiling tools before you join the LIBER programme and these will form the focus of much of your early work. Previous delegates have reported finding this an amazingly powerful part of our programme, and one which they often refer back to.

Without your own sense of direction, you can’t lead. So get a goal, a big goal, set a course, decide on your direction of travel and then you have a fair chance others just might follow. But without anywhere to go, anywhere to take people, you’re not a leader. You know this! People will only follow you around in circles for so long. And if even you don’t know where you’re going, it’s journey over. So an essential part of the LIBER programme looks at strategy, scenario planning, creating purpose and direction, creating the future you want for yourself and your organisation, by presenting and debating frameworks and models for your longer term leadership toward the distant horizon … and beyond!

And to lead, you must lead something or someone. Of course it’s possible to be a thought leader but we’re talking about people here. You must get others to follow. It’s not easy. You must pull together a team, and they must be inspired in some way to follow the same direction as you. Perhaps a long way behind you, perhaps just behind you… perhaps even alongside you, but certainly in the same direction towards the same end goal. How to build a team and sustain the motivation of your team; how to achieve performance from colleagues and how to create space for yourself to lead will all be an important part of the LIBER Emerging Leaders Programme

What could be the next must-have element for a good leader? An ability to develop others must be in the mix. A great leader has a ready willingness to facilitate the development of their team members and the ability to draw and develop the best from people. To achieve this, perhaps a coaching approach to leading might help; maybe also identifying accurately, and with insight, the gaps in others’ capabilities. Maybe even having the self-confidence to recruit and develop people (dare we say it?) to be more capable than you. Coaching and developing your colleagues will be part of our programme and you will have ample opportunity to practice appropriate, inspirational and powerful tools and approaches to enable you to do this effectively and with ease and comfort

Finally the quest for continuing self-development counts for a lot.

Don’t expect to go stale and still have people follow you. The LIBER programme has the opportunity for you to continue with your own self-development as a legacy of the programme once the formal programme concludes. Working with your international colleagues on the programme, who will quickly become professional mentors, confidants and even friends, you will have a programme of learning that extends way beyond the formal days of the programme. This will engage too with your secondment to another library in another country. Your learning will be multi-faceted, practical and sustainable.

So there it is: not so simple to achieve but simple ideas. A good leader has self-awareness, a well-defined direction of travel, an ability to inspire and take others along, an ability and predisposition to develop capability in others, and an imperative and an opportunity for continuing their own self-development. These are all the critical areas we will address with you on the LIBER Emerging Leaders programme.

  • Self-awareness; personal authenticity with a strong sense of values and identity
  • Strategy; with a strong sense of purpose and direction
  • Leading others; by inspiring and sustaining a high-performing team
  • Getting the best from others; by developing the individual performance of colleagues
  • Your future; through self-development, professional development and work/life balance.


Please contact John Tuck, Chair of the LIBER Leadership and Workforce Working Group with any questions about the 2017 LIBER Leadership Programme.