On Being a Librarian

Trends, Achievements, and Perspectives

Agility & Work Culture

In this first decade of my professional librarian career, I’ve learned the value and importance of adopting and embracing an attitude of “agility.”
For me, agility is my ability to renew myself, adapt, and change quickly to each new workplace culture and environment. To be successful, I must be agile and continuously rethink, reinvigorate, respond, and reinvent myself with each contract position I take.

Workplace culture is a combined set of behaviours from people working together for one organization. Yet, members of that workplace do not always share the values of that organization. In the library environment, public or academic, I’ve learned that high-agility thrives on 5 features: innovation, transparency, creativity, collaboration, and diversity.
Recently, I transitioned from an academic environment to the public library world. While there are traits shared between these libraries, the differences are rather stark. To be balanced, I rely on my professional toolkit, where agility is constant.

Agility is a mindset, a unique attitude that seeks not only situational best practices but innovative ones. The capacity to adapt proactively to changes in my environment continues to grow. Agility for me as I move from contract to contract, library to library, means that I am deftly able to engage in work culture so very different from the last. And do it quickly and effectively.

I am beginning to identify several components to being agile: don’t take anything personally, maintain your integrity and professionalism, remain objective and grounded in evidence-based information, and engage in the possibility of future disruption. The pieces that can thwart integration into a new work culture is the nature of the pre-existing toxic or positive work culture into which you are thrown, the power dynamics at play, and the political landscape.

Yet, equipped with a robust agility mindset, I can transition into a new work culture successfully. Not always without some strain, but still authentically and successfully. I yearn to acquire and enhance my skills. I strive to sharpen my ability to adapt to the new work culture.

Finally, agility is also about how I value my professional growth. Out of disruption, I move into a transformation period that is informed by my belief in the value of continued professional development and always enhancing my skills.

Work culture agility leaders are self-aware. I learn how to adjust my own behaviour in a different environment. I’ve spent years developing my emotional intelligence to be a change agent and thought-learner instead of being rigid or limited.

Are you agile?

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This entry was posted on 09/04/2019 by in Competency.
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