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Establishing a Leadership Library
Leadership development is inherently a long-term process that requires each
individual to work continually on improving the various facets of his/her
leadership skills. People tend to learn most effectively by using a variety
of learning methods, which may include 1) formal training; 2) mentoring, 3)
shadowing of senior executives; 4) executive coaching; 5) experiential
learning; and 6) self-study. Several of these methods are either
resource-intensive or have limited availability, however. For example,
formal leadership training usually consists of a few days of training every
few years. Mentors and senior executives typically have limited time to
offer to assist new leaders, while executive coaches are simply quite rare
The two learning methods with the greatest ease of implementation and
the lowest cost are experiential learning (which will be discussed in a
separate article) and self-study.
Government agencies that make it a priority to develop the leadership
skills of their employees can do a lot to promote this objective by
making a good selection of books and articles on leadership available to
their employees. Many government workers are sufficiently committed to
their professional development to read about leadership and management
in their spare time, but the high cost of the books can be a deterrent
to even the most committed students of leadership. Thus, organizations
that are willing to make a modest investment in books and articles on
leadership can greatly leverage their employee's desire for professional
Marketing the leadership library to employees is crucial to its success,
as employees will not use this resource if they do not know about it.
In order to promote use of the leadership library, it would be helpful to do the
- Put the leadership books and articles together in a prominent
place that makes it easy for employees to browse the collection.
- Establish simple procedures for reserving and checking out the
- Post a complete list of the materials in the collection so
will know to check back (or reserve the item) if something they want
to read happens to be checked out.
- Publicize the fact that leadership books and articles are available for
employees to borrow. Include a list of recent acquisitions and/or most popular
titles to generate interest.
For suggestions on which books to obtain, check the
Recommendations section of this web site and ask your agency's
leadership training instructors for their bibliography.
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