A Report on CPDWL and M&M Webinar: From Disaster to Wonder – Managing successful teams,

By Maria Bereslawvkaya,  Library for Foreign Literature, Russia


On 19 November, 2020, the IFLA CPDWL and M&M Sections, in cooperation with ALA, held an online webinar, From Disaster to Wonder – Managing successful teams, focused upon management and leadership skills required to provide the successful team work.

Dr Dilara Begum, Associate Professor and Chairperson, Department of Information Studies, East West University, Bangladesh, opened the webinar with the discussion of the management and leadership concepts, looking into their similarities and differences. Spelling out the multifaceted mission, which information professionals are expected to perform as leaders in their communities, D-r Begum singled out their roles in capacity building through training programs, including digital and information literacy, promoting communication between people, linking with the government and empowering the vulnerable social groups. She drew parallels between characteristics of a librarian and those of an entrepreneur, highlighting the most essential qualities that leaders need, such as communication skills (in particular emotional intellect), motivation, creativity, etc. She dwelled upon the competencies and skills required of the XXI-century library leaders. Speaking of the challenges faced by library leaders, Dr Dilara Begum pointed to the lack of motivation and self-development culture as major impediments. She put particular emphasis on the need to develop the overall organizational culture open to change. She believes that despite the lack of tolerance and the prejudiced attitude towards female leaders in Bangladesh, female leaders have been prominent on the Bangladesh political and public scene in the past decades. Also, she cited some sources according to which women are more resilient leaders than men, and emerging leadership trends will provide more leading roles to females.

The next presenter, Harish Maringanti, Associate Dean for IT & Digital Library Services, Marriott Library, University of Utah (USA), discussed some theoretical aspects of management backed up with practice, which are instrumental in managing successful teams. He looked into two motivation theories – Herzberg Two-Factor Theory and Expectancy Theory – which define the connection between performance and outcome, thus helping design the appropriate reward for a particular employee. Harish Maringanti reminded the five specific criteria of the SMART approach. He showed how goal-setting worked in practice and demonstrated the benefit of relating each employee’s performance to the organization’s strategic directions and overall performance. Further on, Harish Maringanti described some strategies, which are inherent in high-performance teams and which help to have the right perspective while managing teams, especially in the challenging times of the pandemic.

The last presenter, Moon Kim, Acquisitions Librarian, Ohio State University, focused her report upon various ways to acquire skills for managing and leading. She dwelled upon her personal experiences and described the channels, formal and informal, via which she enhanced her skills. Speaking of formalized training groups, she remarked that they differ in scope, length, structure, format (offline and online) and address a variety of issues, such as models of leadership, conducting difficult conversations, systematic problem solving and behavior assessment tools, which are helpful to understand other people’s behavior and learn more about one’s own leadership style. Another critical facet to leadership development opportunities is their focus on equipping managers to lead change efforts, which is quite topical under the austerity measures.

In her closing remarks, webinar moderator Catharina Isberg, Director, Public Library of Helsingborg (Sweden), placed particular stress on the word ‘pandemic’ and characterized it as something affecting us a lot nowadays. She asked the presenters to give a brief answer to the question, how the pandemic changes management and management skills. Common to the responses was the stress on the need to be more flexible and empathetic while communicating with people in such difficult times.

Here’s the recording for this webinar: