Executive Leadership Frequently Asked Questions

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version Share this


  1. How does professional development for executive leadership (such as TLA’s immersion program) differ from basic leadership development (such as TALL Texans)?

The highest level leaders are no different from other levels of leaders in that their styles and techniques may vary given the situation, constituent groups, proactive vs. reactive issues, etc.  At any given time one can find content on the “three types of executive leadership” and at the same time find “six styles of ceo’s/leaders.” Immersion will include discussions of the variety of  types and styles including (but not limited to) intentional, strategic, proactive, reactive, servant, authentic, and situational.

Although the principles and values of leadership should not vary dramatically between non-profit and profit environments, in fact, there are leadership approaches that are more successful given the type of organization.  Immersion will include content on the non-profit, profit elements and issues that alter leadership approaches. In addition to identifying issues of who lead, Immersion will focus on the importance of educating colleagues, umbrella institutions and stakeholders on the differences and similarities.

Although these attributes, elements and issues can be a focus of all types of leadership training, content specifically critical to executive leaders includes trust, change, persuasion and influence, negotiation, motivation, communication, assessment/using data, diversity, equity and inclusion, leading external forces (governments, institutions, administrations, boards, etc.) and partnerships and collaborations.

          2. What are the criteria for being accepted to the Executive Leadership Immersion?

The Executive Leadership Immersion is intended for individuals who aspire to senior and top management positions. The ideal applicant embodies a commitment to leadership, innovation, and self-improvement, and has management and leadership experience that will provide context to Immersion content as well as the focus/project (see question 5).

         3. Is a library science degree required for participation?

         4. Is the program designed for any particular type of library?      

The Executive Leadership Immersion welcomes leaders from all types of libraries (academic, public, school, special). The skill sets involved in executive leadership apply to any top administrative position.

         5. Will the program accept more than one person from a single institution?

Yes, especially if they are all involved in the same focus project (see item 6 below).

        6. What teaching and learning activities will be used at the Executive Leadership program?

  • Focus or deep dives on subject matter/curriculum (trust, change, persuasion)
  • Expert panelists for focus on best practices, universal issues
  • Guided discussion post-presentations (in-person, media, expert guest panelists) with full group
  • The use of case method and scenario for delivery of institute content but also for re-purposing and use in organizations post-immersion
  • Media curriculum – Major motion picture with guided leadership discussion post viewing
  • Media curriculum – Ted Talks for examples including motivation, inspiration for the most difficult times; dealing with diversity, inclusion, equity, change, persuasion
  • Discussion (individual critique) on content (with rubric) for participant focus, project, or problem (throughout)
  • Critique (coaching) (with rubric) on participant focus, project or problem (end)

         7. Why should attendees bring a focus, and what should attendees focus on?

Integrating contextual content into leadership curriculum is critical. To provide meaningful context for attendees and to maximize leadership learning opportunities, each attendee is asked to focus and complete a two-page outline for a problem, issue or project they will have primary leadership responsibility for within the next two to three years. Prospectus/outline examples can be categorized in a variety of ways including examples from reactive leadership (little control over many aspects of the situation, the issue came/is coming to you given your organizational roles and responsibilities) and proactive leadership (you are bringing issues forward based on your expertise, roles and responsibilities or institutional or community or constituent need(s). Note: it is NOT expected that all projects, problems or issues be shared with either the large group or any small group, therefore if you wish to work on something that is confidential (example - a reorganization, be sure you indicate that on your document so that exchanges, critical information, etc. be kept confidential.

Ideas for the issue, problem or prospectus can come from any area in the attendee’s organization or environment. Examples of these can be “reactive” with examples such as leadership plans or approaches for dealing with:

  • funded or funded mandates;
  • “Open Carry;”
  • threats, challenges, issues regarding collection such as content, patron selection, ownership vs. access, deselection;
  • complaints re: use or misuse of funding;
  • embracing and integrating new, trending services and resources; and,
  • “reactive” leading in the most negative of times such as
    • disaster
    • emergency,
    • emergency consequences,
    • business continuity, or,
    • budget issues such as cuts, re-focus, funding levels, freezes, layoffs.

Proactive leadership examples can include leadership of opinion such as perception, sentiment or rebranding; issues of referenda; new visions for services, resources or facilities; redesign of existing partnerships, collaborations and consortia; new partnerships, collaborations and consortia; or, organizational issues such as morale, reorganization.

Prospectus (critiqued) are returned to attendees and reviewed individually Sunday evening, upon arrival. They are provided early in Immersion to provide the context needed from the first Monday morning session.  Attendees should note that their issue can be of “turn the ship around” magnitude or can be a “let’s offer (Different? Hybrid? Expensive?) a new 21st century service.”


Created on Feb 12, 2016 | Last updated June 08, 2018