Organizational Leadership

Public libraries need leaders who know how to inspire excellence while empowering and developing staff at every level of the organization.  They create the conditions for organizational success by motivating staff to bring their best selves to work each and every day.  Effective leaders are committed to big and small changes that improve library service.   

Last updated: December 12, 2014


Competency: Provides vision and strategic direction to library staff, board members and the community

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:      

  • Understands the social, political and economic context in which the library exists
  • Articulates the mission, vision and values of the library
  • Aligns the library with, and is supportive of, the strategic directions of the municipality and the needs of the community
  • Defines and communicates the library’s goals and objectives aligned with the library’s mission and vision
  • Evaluates and strives to ensure the library’s mission, vision, value statements and strategic plan remain relevant; recommends revisions as necessary
  • Drives innovative change that advances the mission and vision of the library   
  • Models accountability for quality and timeliness of work and reliability in achieving excellent results.


Competency:  Provides effective leadership of staff

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:      

  • Keeps current with new approaches to leadership and teamwork and applies that knowledge to motivate staff and help achieve organizational goals and objectives 
  • Builds trust and trusting relationships with staff at every level of the organization 
  • Establishes open communication avenues and procedures to inform and keep informed of issues as they arise; responds to issues appropriately and in a timely manner 
  • Recognizes the strengths of individual staff and motivates staff to strive for excellence and mastery 
  • Delegates decision-making authority and task allocation appropriately to maximize the effectiveness of organizational and individual efforts.   


Competency: Contributes to effective decision making regarding library services and resources

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Creates an environment in which everyone contributes their best thinking to making decisions that advance library service
  • Uses conversation to gather information and multiple perspectives prior to and during decision making
  • Understands the library’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and challenges
  • Recommends adopting, modifying or eliminating services, based on the best available evidence
  • Prepares for and responds to the decision making demands of crises and unanticipated events.


Competency: Manages meetings to optimize information sharing and decision making

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Organizes an agenda and manages time accordingly
  • Fosters differences of opinions and experiences for rich discussion
  • Facilitates consensus decision-making
  • Allocates and monitors time appropriately to ensure achievement of meeting outcomes
  • Practices collaborative approaches to resolving conflicts.


Competency:  Designs and facilitates effective and participative group processes

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Designs a process that enables a group to achieve a particular outcome
  • Creates an environment of participation and equal regard for every voice 
  • Manages the group and intervenes as necessary to ensure equal participation and integrity of process 
  • Utilizes conflict to expand the discussion in pursuit of the best solution 
  • Conveys both compassion and authority when managing group behaviours 
  • Encourages consensus decision-making and group ownership of outcomes.  


Competency: Applies change management strategies to assure effective implementation of change and acceptance by all stakeholders

Associated Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Contributes to a culture of resilience and change readiness 
  • Remains open to new ideas, keeps current on trends and issues, seeks and sponsors innovations
  • Recognizes the benefits of change and understands the principles, processes and responsibilities for managing organizational change
  • Involves appropriate parties in planning, implementing and evaluating change
  • Prepares staff, Library Board, users and other stakeholders for change by communicating relentlessly in order to raise awareness, listen to concerns, ensure understanding and build commitment and buy-in
  • Anticipates change-resistant behaviour (fear, conflict, negativity, complacency) and works to reduce resistance through active listening, understanding and creative problem-solving.


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