For Librarians

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Finding the Best Talent

This is the first in a series of posts on how to build a great team.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could choose someone else’s New Year’s resolutions?  You could get your boss to try being nicer and more supportive, your kids to earn better grades, your dogs to stop chewing up shoes, or your internet service provider to care.  You’d have the power and they’d have to do the hard work.  Brilliant!  What if I told you that you can decide the New Year’s resolutions of one special something in your life?

In the course of my career I’ve encountered many professionals who struggle with self-doubt.  Peers, direct reports, mentees, friends in other fields.  Over time I noticed that the brighter and more talented the individual, the more that individual doubted him or herself.  Initially I simply added this to my running list of life’s ironies, but then I began to think about what made these individuals talented in the first place.  In most cases it wasn’t a manifestation of genius or “natural ability” that set them apart.  Rather, what made them talented was the same thing that caused them to chew their fingernails and struggle through sleepless nights:  Self-doubt. 

Like many of you, I participated in the NCLA conference last week.  As a first-timer, whatever expectations I brought with me stemmed from recollections of other state conferences I have attended.  At those other state conferences I remember small crowds, grim venues, lackluster, scanty-attended sessions, cliques of old friends roaming in exclusive “packs,” and a general sense that the state conference was a prelude to some other, bigger event, for which the attendees were saving their best.  In short, these weren’t my favorite conferences.

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