Wednesday, 16 May 2007

Leadership and learning

Yesterday was Module 2 of the MLA Future Leaders course. Just one more two-day residential to go and I'm fully Leadered up!

The focus of Module 2 was on our Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) results and how to use them, as well as some work on creative thinking. I really enjoyed both parts. I've got some reservations about personality testing - does everyone *really* fit into one of 16 archetypes? - but it can be a useful tool to help us recognise our strengths and weaknesses, and make the most of them.

The MBTI stuff is interesting if you like to pigeonhole things a bit (which is pretty likely if you're a librarian). One of the most useful insights from the day was that, regardless of what your type is, it's not static. Not only can you develop and use characteristics of other types, you can also move between different types.

Certain elements are static. As an INTP, my unchangeable preference is for introverted thinking. This doesn't mean I sit around thinking about myself all the time in a very emo way: it just means that, if you want to get the best from me, you need to leave me to think things through. The source of my energy (this is where it gets a bit too California Hippy for me) is introversion, but that doesn't mean I can't participate in extravert activities. I like giving presentations and running training sessions, and I really enjoyed my first and only gig (despite being a mediocre guitarist at best).

The creative thinking exercises were fun. It turns out that group discussion isn't especially inclusive: how's an introverted thinker going to cope with that sort of extraverted environment? So we did some paper exercises, based on the Mind Gym, which I've now checked out from the library upstairs in a fit of post-course inspiration.

As ever with the Future Leaders course, I'm left with a lot to think about, and a lot to sift through if I want to find anything truly useful. The next module is in July, but we have to do our work-based projects between now and then: keep 'em peeled for more posts!