Visionary Leader for the 21st Century Library or Control Freak?


I always say I’m not a control freak. Some would say I am. I think what they mistake as control is actually having a clear vision of my organization’s potential and direction.

Much like the artist creation of a movie- a library (or and organization) is a collaboration. Cinematographers, gaffers, scenic design, costumers, art directors, foley artist = librarians of all specialties, facilities managers, pages, trustees, community collaborators, security officers.
But it is the director that creates and holds the creative vision for the whole and communicates that effectively to the entire collaborative team.  The director must always retain a clear vision of the final product to avoid wasted resources, the team getting ‘lost in the weeds’, or a mangled final result.
In that setting no one says the director is a control freak. Rather they may say that he/she is a perfectionist that works tirelessly and brings out the best in everyone to create a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. The ability to skillfully guide the multitude of contributors (like a symphony) to bring their skill set to the table and create a product that resembles on screen the vision the director had in his/her head is essential.  I believe that leaders of great organizations must practice the same approach.
Visionary Leaders must:
  • Have clear vision and a grasp of how the parts will come together.
  • Think many moves ahead.
  • Plan for exceptions. Allow for opportunities.
  • Be open to spectacular unexpected contributions that make the whole better and Reject the opposite with equal vigor and determination.   (This does not make you a micro manager or a control freak. If a screenwriter had suggested trotting a cowboy on a horse thru the final scene in Casablance-no one would have snarked that the director was a control freak for saying no to the idea.)
  • Do not become complacent. Divide the long haul future into a series of attainable goals or projects. Your time with an organization is the career of a filmmaker with each new stage or project the equivalent of a completed film.
And… Like we all want in a good movie…
Be EPIC!!!

1 Comment

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One response to “Visionary Leader for the 21st Century Library or Control Freak?

  1. Anonymous

    I think this is an important message to get out there for so many people who deal with this very issue. The “visionary” element is very significant in distinguishing a “director” from a “control freak.” The person I work for is just a control freak because they have ZERO vision. In over 5 years working for them I have not seen one visionary thing come out. It’s all about following the rules and making them look good.

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