Have you ever looked back on your life and tried to be objective? I criticize the heck out of myself, and then I ask other folks for input, rather than simply navel gaze. What I discovered this last time was fascinating. I expected to see that I was pretty good at my job. (I’m really good with information and knowledge management. Library school was AWESOME!) I expected to find areas that I could improve in. (Networking still challenges my introverted self.) I heard lots of useful things, but the thing that surprised me in its existence and frequency was that I was a good leader. My staff love me. Wow!
When I was young I was an arrogant manager (I definitely had not yet matured to “leader” yet). Most of all I was full of “it’s for your own good” and “business is business” crap. Take-downs happened. Thank goodness I got burned sooner than later! Best thing that ever happened to me. The criticism made me pay a lot more attention to how I treated the people I was asked to direct. Apparently I got better at it. Time and again my staff told me I did right by them and the company even though my old bad beliefs about myself did not match reality. Slowly but surely I had changed my spots.
How did I do it? I always made a concerted effort to follow the Golden Rule at work. Articles on organizational effectiveness were my regular reading and I tested out user-friendly status report templates. I talked to mentors, peers, and friends, but I had never, in my mind, made leadership a hardcore area for professional development. KM had changed my leadership style – my hardcore efforts to learn knowledge management better had become ingrained in my personal style. Knowledge management practices positively impacted the teams I was privileged to lead. KM is more successful when it’s built in to other processes. As it turns out good leadership is a process, not just a natural talent as many would have you believe.
One day someone said, “I wish you could teach me how you do it.” I thought, “heh, yeah, me too.” And then I thought, “OK, I will.” Here we are. This feels right, and good. I know you will find each new module useful and truly hope you find them inspiring. This is a new kind of leadership I’m embarking on – wish me well!
P.S. Anyone who has seen me speak at a conference knows that I prefer interactive sessions over lecture style presentations. Please – join me in this conversation! Comment, ask, share. Knowledge grows stronger when it is shared and refined with different viewpoints.