Bringing leadership in libraries to life

ALIA Library

Buckingham, Chris; Neil, Mel

Asia-Pacific Library and Information Conference 2018, 30 July - 2 August 2018 Gold Coast: Roar Leap Dare
[Peer reviewed] This conference paper presents an overview of the design and development of the ground-breaking Living Leadership Program including a summary of initial results from the first year of program delivery.
The future of libraries is dependent on our willingness to embrace opportunities for change today.  The impact of technology has been well recognised, but the looming need for workforce renewal and development is more significant.
Casey Cardinia Libraries has been operating public libraries in Melbourne’s South East for 21 years. We serve a community of more than 400,000 people through seven libraries and a mobile service. We have 150 staff, many of whom have been with CCL since inception. Changes to CCL’s leadership team, a cash-constrained operating environment, rapidly changing community needs and the imminent opening of a new flagship branch at Bunjil Place created a need for new ways of working.
We needed to bring the organisation into line with contemporary leadership practices and empower staff to take more control of decision making. This direction was formalised in CCL’s new four-year library plan. CCL wanted to bring our people on a journey.  We needed our teams to perform at a consistently high level across multiple locations.  We also wanted to encourage staff to shift to cognitive non-routine work practices that support more meaningful engagement with customers. The CCL leadership team wanted to create a democratic and inclusive personal development program that gave everyone in the organisation an opportunity to stretch and grow.
CCL brought in Mel Neil, a Mind Fitness Coach extraordinaire, to help design a leadership program that would achieve maximum impact for minimum expenditure. We wanted to inspire our people to participate through a voluntary and inclusive process - a strength based approach that encouraged people to do work that energised them. We engaged CCL graduates from the Aurora Program and the Shared Leadership Program as facilitators. Together we created the CCL Living Leadership Program - a personal development program that combines contemporary leadership theory and practical personal health and well-being strategies.
By linking personal development with the organisation’s goals, CCL made a clear statement about our desire to positively support our staff through the organisational change process. Participants were encouraged to be mindful, recognise their own values and link them back to CCL’s, set personal and professional goals, and to realise and celebrate their strengths. We surveyed all 63 participants throughout the program to measure engagement. The facilitators also met regularly to review the effectiveness of delivery.
The Program encourages career progression, develops leadership potential at all levels of the business and starts individuals on a path to development and investment in self. CCL sees the potential for the Living Leadership Program to be shared across the sector with organisations seeking sustainable change.


Deakin, ACT: Australian Library and Information Association
Casey Cardinia Libraries