Reflections on Leadership from a DLCL Coach

A guest post by Fin Minjee Lee

I’ve been reflecting a lot about the types of leaders I have encountered for the past 5 years in libraries and in my studies. How am I upholding some of those skills and experiences I’ve seen and felt in the way I show up as a librarian? How can I implement leadership skills in the micro (from “Emergent Strategies” by Adrienne Maree Brown) and continue to show up by active listening, using an equity-based lens, and leading with empathy?

I’m working through those skills, every single day. I think it can be reflected on all levels of the library. I am not in management or administration, yet I know I am making a difference through leadership qualities. Leaders are not necessarily managers/admin – and managers/admin are not necessarily leaders. I’ve had the amazing opportunity to really explore leadership and how it pertains to myself and in libraries through The California Library Association Developing Leaders in California Libraries (DLCL) program. Last year I was a cohort member and this year I was asked to join the mentor/coach team (with other AMAZING coaches/mentors) for the 2022-2023 cohort.

Last week, the coaches and the cohort members all met to really work through their position paper projects that will be presented at this year’s CLA conference. There was so much depth, openness, and what Ivan Aguirre mentioned as a share out near the end of our time together – growth. Growth was evident in the position papers, team presentations, and the values of the project the cohort members are focused on. AND, in many ways, I sincerely felt growth in myself. I am filled with so much gratitude for all the types of connections I have made throughout my career and the folks I met through CLA have been the most giving, supportive, and inspiring. I never met a network of folks who truly want to make a difference and, simply, want to root for you.

Sitting with so much gratitude and inspiration for what comes next.