Identifying the Presence of Ineffective Leadership in Libraries

This peer-reviewed article appeared in the most recent edition of Library Leadership & Management. From the paper:

Most research and commentary about administration and management, particularly in scholarship devoted to libraries and librarianship, focuses on defining and celebrating the elements that constitute effective leadership. Articles, books, and websites abound extolling the praises of best practices such as open communication, staff development, and ethical leadership, as well as statements of strategy, focus, and vision. The assumption, then, may be that ineffective leadership represents the absence of these factors that make for successful administrators and managers. This paper will propose that there are “etiologies of ineffective leadership,” 1 i.e., a set of causes that can be readily identified that define ineffective leadership and management in libraries. This paper will suggest that ineffective leadership can be defined by the presence of certain elements. An adherence to negative values – not treating others as you would expect to be treated, moral disengagement – defined as “disregarding or minimizing the injurious effects of ones actions” 2, and micromanagement are all factors that can be identified when evaluating ineffective leadership.

An unwillingness to involve stakeholders in decisions and the inability or unwillingness to think institutionally are readily identifiable indicators of ineffective leadership as well.

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