MILE 2015: A CMLE Scholarship

Roxanne Backowski smaller sizeThe following post was submitted by CMLE scholarship recipient Roxanne Backowski, Library Technician at St. Cloud State University.

What were your favorite takeaways or new things learned?  As a result of attending this event, can you identify and explain a few things you can use/apply to your work or practice?

To say the least, Minnesota Library Association’s Institute for Leadership Excellence (MILE) was energizing and an enlightening experience. Before the conference, I took the Clifton Strength Finder Assessment and received a personalized report with my top five strengths (Harmony, Deliberative, Intellection, Input, and Learner).  Nikki Daniels, a conference presenter, took us through a more in-depth session on our strengths. I was able to apply the explanations of different types of strengths to my coworkers which has already helped my understanding of their work style. In addition, I have shared my top five strengths will my supervisor and even my family, so they can have a better understanding of me and how to capitalize on my strengths.  Learning about my strengths has made me more self-aware.  It has been difficult to accept that we are not supposed to focus on improving weaknesses or to waste energy attempting to be well-rounded people.  Rather, we are to improve and capitalize on our natural talents and strengths to be an effective leader.

Another takeaway from MILE was the importance of play. Barry Kudrowitz’s presentation on Facilitating Creativity through Humor and Play made me realize how much of a serious minded individual I can be.  We are more creative when we view an activity as play. I can apply this by changing my attitude toward work tasks–whether it be making a game out of scheduling students workers or attempting to generate creative ideas or solutions at a team meeting.

Some other tidbit takeaways I learned were about library advocacy and the power of telling stories about the value of a library, the plethora of leadership opportunities in MLA, the benefits of interviewing through panels, how to have difficult conversations with employees. I plan to try to gather stories as part of my everyday work, look into MLA increased involvement, and continue to work on articulating points to student workers.