Good Leaders Learn What Not to Do – Leading from the Library

Reyna, Lisa

ET – Government and Professions

Bell, S. (n.d.). Good Leaders Learn What Not to Do – Leading From the Library. Library Journal. Retrieved May 20, 2016, from 


Leadership in the Academic Library Profession: Evaluation and Assessment of Leadership
In the article, “Good Leaders Learn What Not to Do”, Steven Bell mentions how Kouzes and Posner are responsible for the “ten truths of leadership” and how valuable an asset this information is to the working professional, but voices his opinion on the importance of learning what leaders should not do in the workplace as well. [2]
Truth 1: You Make a Difference
Truth 2: Credibility is the Foundation of Leadership
Truth 3: Values Drive Commitment
Truth 4: Focusing on the Future Sets Leaders Apart
Truth 5: You Can’t Do It Alone
Truth 6: Trust Rules
Truth 7: Challenge Is the Crucible of Greatness
Truth 8: You Either Lead by Example or You Don’t Lead at All
Truth 9: The Best Leaders Are the Best Learners
Truth 10: Leadership Is an Affair of the Heart
The ten truths listed above are from Kouzes and Posner’s book, The Truth about Leadership, which each concept is featured in it’s own chapter. [1]
Steven Bell believes that by identifying the presence of ineffective leadership in libraries, this approach could also prove to be just as valuable to the overall success of professional leadership. Throughout this article, he refers to the effectiveness of how not to lead and focuses on another article written by Steve Staninger titled “Identifying the Presence of Ineffective Leadership in Libraries”. Staninger mentions the inability of leaders to treat their employees, as they would want to be treated themselves. Other instances of ineffective leadership include moral disengagement and micromanagement. When these instances arise within the workplace, the negativity can lead to damage of employee morale as well as fundamental damage to the organization itself. [2]
Although leadership can be expressed in many facets, academic librarianship possesses a need to conduct it in a highly professional manner, while working with internal as well as external stakeholders, such as librarians; library staff; administrators; students; faculty; non-library administrators and staff. [2]
I truly believe that all individuals placed within a leader/management role should possess a certain type of skillset and quality, which would allow them to be a positive role model as well as leader in the workplace. Staninger describes that ineffective leaders have a disregard for the importance and value that represents institutional culture by neglecting the consultation of employees who could be beneficial in the overall decision-making process in creating a better workplace. I also believe that there is truth to this theory. As an effective leader, he/she has to maintain a certain quality in order to achieve greatness. True leaders aspire to make a difference and when mistakes are made, they learn from them allowing themselves room for growth and wisdom when bestowing their knowledge onto others. True leaders also allow their employees the credit deserved when making a positive impact on the organization by acknowledgement and recognition.
As Steven Bell describes in his article, I too believe that it is always a better practice of knowing all aspects of management and leadership, even when it comes to researching the ways in which a leader could be ineffective in order to learn and determine which concepts and behaviors to avoid.
Additional Sources:
1. McKinney, M. (n.d.). Leading Blog: A Leadership Blog: Ten Truths about Leadership. Leading Blog: A Leadership Blog: Ten Truths about Leadership. Retrieved May 20, 2016, from

2. Staninger, S. (2011). Identifying the Presence of Ineffective Leadership in Libraries. Library Leadership & Management, 26(1), 1-7. Retrieved May 20, 2016, from