Peer to Peer: ILTA's Quarterly Magazine

Issue link: https://epubs.iltanet.org/i/1489228

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Page 26 of 66

27 I L T A N E T . O R G and disinformation—folks are starting to realize the value of information professionals and the skills we bring to the table. With libraries, especially law libraries, there are not many steps for career growth; we tend to be "one-of-a-kind" in our organizations. So, when I was looking to grow my career, I looked for volunteer leadership opportunities outside of my firm to garner leadership skills. The smartest thing I did was join and be an active member in my local law librarian group. Additionally, several years ago I became a volunteer leader for a non-partisan gun violence prevention advocacy group, which afforded me countless leadership opportunities. These volunteer roles helped my supervisors see me as a leader and provided a stepping stone for me to grow into the position I am in now—going from a Research Analyst on a team, to managing that team. What are you most proud of accomplishing? I moved into my position from a Research Analyst to managing a team of 11 Research Analysts in April of 2021, while our Library is in the midst of transitioning from an office-based to firm-wide, cross-office model. As a part of this process, my Team Leads and I are working on standardizing and creating consistent work products. We created a resource for the benefit of the team, "Best Practices for Managing Your Workflow and Workload." Though this is a basic kind of resource, I am incredibly proud as it reflects the unique contributions of each team member, and is an invaluable resource to offer guidance and direction. What life lessons has your work taught you? Something I've learned recently is to never make assumptions about what someone else is thinking, needing or wanting. It's most always best to pick up the phone or meet with someone in person or virtually, when encountering roadblocks or ambiguity that necessitates clarification. It is crucial to enter conversations with an open mind and open-ended questions. And much of the time, a phone call is the best communication option, because you can express your personal charm and genuine need for clarification. Another thing I learned is that people need and want defined processes. There are places where we can define process and create clarity that provide our employees and clients with much- needed confidence to proceed with their work and activities. Defining processes and expectations removes extra burden and weight on employees so they can focus on their work and goals. What qualities makes a good leader? Humility in knowing one's own limitations and capabilities. We can't possibly know everything and solve every problem. It's okay to say, "I don't know the answer to that, but let's work together to find out." We work in teams with access to lots of different perspectives, ideas and experiences for just this reason. Also it is crucial to be good listener and ask open-ended and probing questions. What do you pull from for inspiration? I find inspiration in so many places that it's hard to know where to begin. As a Librarian, I am curious about everything and enjoy drawing bridges between seemingly disparate pieces of information to create new lenses through which to view problems. This means that I read, watch and listen to content across many disciplines, and consequently draw ideas from a wide expanse— from science, politics and economics, to activism, social justice, and even parenting. One person and quote I oft reference is DeRay Mckesson, a social justice activist—he reminds us that hope isn't magic; things don't just magically get better. Rather, hope is action. Hope is the idea that our tomorrows can be better than our todays, only through action; only through rolling up the sleeves and doing the work. And I've learned that action can sometimes be just one small thing each day; a phone call, text message, filling out a web form, having a conversation with a friend; every action counts and gets us a little bit closer to our goals, even if sometimes it doesn't feel like it. What advice would you give to your younger self? My first boss gave me a piece of advice that's stuck with me to this day, which is: when presenting anyone with a problem, *always* come to the table with a solution (or two or three). Even if the solutions you've devised aren't great, it shows that you are focused on solving the problem, rather than blaming or complaining, and that you've spent time thinking about the issue and you're genuinely committed to fixing it. ILTA

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