Monday, 5 November 2012

Team leadership

This is a retrospective post regarding a course I completed during the Summer. I didn’t blog about it at the time as I felt I needed space to distance myself from it and take time to digest and reflect upon the information I’d learnt.
In September 2011 I enrolled on an Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) qualification in first line management. The sessions were delivered 6-9pm on Tuesday evenings for 30 weeks, and this is partly why I wanted to distance myself before blogging about it. I leave the house at 7.15am and after a full day at work followed by the course and a round trip commute of 65 miles, it’d be 10pm before I’d return home. I found it exhausting, and therefore wasn’t always in the best of mindsets where this course was concerned. I must admit this was the main factor in my decision not to enrol on any evening courses this year, despite feeling I would benefit from studying the course at the next level.

There were about 20 learners on the course, coming from vastly different employment backgrounds. Several of the learners were engineers or worked within the NHS. I don’t get to meet many people from non-library backgrounds these days and found this to be one of the joys of the course. (I’d usually sit next to a man who worked in a warehouse and was an ex-zookeeper. He was also an anti-smoking councillor and passed on advice to my boyfriend in his battle against smoking.)
The content of the course was interesting but I struggled with word limits. I’d finish an assignment and it’d be double the expected word limit. I’ve never had this problem before (it’s usually the other way around!) but other people in the course did too. I always thought I could be quite concise in my writing style when needed, but meeting the necessary criteria within such limited word counts was actually a near impossible task. There were 10 assignments, the majority of which had expected word counts of 500-750, with 2 large projects with expected word counts of 2000 each.

The course covered topics such as teamwork, feedback, delegation, finance, time management and communication. The larger two projects were case studies of our workplace and focused on overcoming problems and change management. For my assignments, I explored ways in which we could go further in our efforts to recover unreturned library books and how we could increase our revenue from overdue charges. Several sessions focused on bookkeeping and this is the section of the course I enjoyed the most. I felt a sense of achievement from solving maths problems as this is something I’ve not done since school; it is a different type of challenge to those I usually face on a daily basis.

In my current employment I assist the head librarian with the running of the department and the line management of the team. Completing a library MSc may qualify me as a librarian but does not necessarily qualify me to lead a team of people. I felt this was my weak area and enrolled on this course 2 months after starting my current role. My line manager completed the course a few years ago and through him I recognise the course content in operation within the library. I may have resented the course at times and not fully enjoyed it, but that was due to external reasons. This course helped improved my confidence regarding my position within the team. I learnt from it and it boosted my knowledge and skills too. I found it hard going at times, but can honestly say I am pleased I stuck with it and went the distance (hurrah!).

1 comment:

  1. Well done on completing the Diploma. The word limits can be be quite limiting, can't they? I found it to be a very useful course and still refer to elements of it now, even though I started losing the will towards the end of it. We didn't do book keeping on ours though so I wonder what else differed.