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Tracy H.

Aitken

1. What did I learn about myself? What was surprising/not surprising?


My experiences in the four classes, reading The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, and taking the LCI and MBTI provided much fodder for self exploration! From my interactions, I learned that ho" I contri#ute to the group depends on the personalities of the group mem#ers! For example, during the second class I found one group mem#er to #e dismissive of several comments! In one case, this person cut me off mid sentence and in another, they physically turned a"ay "hile I "as speaking! During the final class, I had a completely different group experience! $ach mem#er talked freely, "ithout interruption! Clarification "as sought, if needed! %umor and laughter lightened up the atmosphere, and I came out of the experience feeling like my point of vie" had #een respected and that I had gained insight from hearing the professional anecdotes of my group mem#ers! &sing the #ook as an analysis tool, I compare my first team mem#er to Mikey, "ho demonstrates her disinterest via negative #ody language or myself to Carlos, "ho often remains 'uiet, speaking up only "hen he has a vital contri#ution! (Lencioni, )**)+ ,r, I could interpret my MBTI results, and see that I "as interacting "ith an opposite type, and that "hat I "as seeing as aggressive, overly critical #ehavior "as influenced #y my perceptions as an introvert "ith a predilection for harmony and compassion! -hat surprised me most a#out each of these experiences is ho" "e can #ecome so entrenched in our o"n preferences that it can influence our relationships, and thus our "ork experience! Intuitively, I kno" "hich type of personality traits dominate my "orld vie", #ut I don.t spend much time considering ho" others might vie" the "orld differently! I hope that in the future, I "ill use this ne" self a"areness and kno"ledge a#out the traits of others "ith "hom I "ork to #e a #etter team player and/or leader!

2. How do my experiences growing up and through the years affect the way I lead?
Much of "hat "e have discussed in this class has #een personal, so I can only conclude that life experiences have #earing on ho" "e perform in our professional lives! I am an only child "ho "as raised #y an aunt and uncle "ho served as my legal guardians until I "as eighteen! I "as #orn in $ngland, #ut raised as a child in #oth the &nited 0tates and $ngland, moving #et"een the t"o countries several times during my childhood! Being an only child, raised #y other relatives, and moving 'uite often impacted ho" I vie"ed myself and the "orld! ,verall, I "as a 'uiet child seeking comfort and adventure through #ooks! I preferred the friendships of a fe", and I "as very

Tracy H. Aitken

comforta#le spending lots of time amusing myself! 1s a result, I developed an active imagination and har#ored many dreams a#out "hat my life "ould #e like "hen I "as a gro"n up! It.s not too surprising, then, that I chose a career as an educator! 1s a child, I loved to learn, I "as curious a#out ne" ideas, I en2oyed #eing in school and I "as a teacher pleaser! 1s a young adult selecting a profession, I liked the idea of #eing autonomous in the classroom and "orking "ith children! My love of reading explains my leap from the classroom to the school li#rary eight years ago! ,rgani3ing, administrating, and evaluating a school li#rary program is one that re'uires leadership a#ility! 1 school li#rary is "hat a school li#rarian makes it! It can #e a 'uiet place "here #ooks sit on shelves and computers collect dust, or it can #e a vi#rant center of learning "here many patrons read, discuss, research, and learn! I #elieve my life experiences contri#ute to my love of literature and children, along "ith contri#uting to some positive personality traits such as reflectiveness, compassion, and flexi#ility, each of "hich ena#les me to #e a strong colla#orator and program leader!

3.

o I ha!e conflicting wor"/home identities? I definitely have conflicting "ork and home identities! The results of the LCI, "hich indicates my first

preference to #e se'uencing reveals this conflict! 1t "ork, I am a list maker and a prioriti3er! I tend to start on tasks 'uickly and finish them in a timely manner! 1lthough procrastination is inherent, I tend to avoid this at "ork! 1t home, I.m more flexi#le "ith ho" I spend my time! I am spontaneous and receptive to "hatever the day might #ring! I also tend to procrastinate "ith house chores, preferring to spend time "ith my children, read, or en2oy a meal out "ith my hus#and! 1nother conflict, revealed in the reported preferences on the MBTI, is my lo" score of 4/5* on the thinking feeling continuum! My inclination is to make rational 2udgments #ased on harmony or empathy, ho"ever at "ork I re'uire myself to act more analytically and logically! #. What are the implications for my leadership in terms of the information I learned about myself? From Myers Briggs, I learned that I6F7 indicates that I am caring and loyal to people! I en2oy discussing and reflecting on possi#ilities for change, am 'uick to see connections and meanings, I am curious and creative, and

Tracy H. Aitken

likely to focus on a long term vision! I #elieve these traits are positive implications for a strong and visionary leader "ho can earn the trust of her team! From the LCI, I learned that I use se'uence first, "ith a close second tie of precision and confluence! These indicators reveal my strengths to #e organi3ing tasks, pro#lem solving, and innovative decision making, all of "hich compliment the positive indicators from Myers Briggs to add to my leadership tool#ox! Finally, reading and discussing the Lencioni text allo"ed me to recogni3e some similar #ehaviors in myself and leaders for "hom I.ve "orked! This recognition and the strategies practiced #y 8athryn "ith the team enlighten my perception of my current and past experience! $. What did I learn about others in the process? I learned that #efore I can "ork effectively "ith others as either a team mem#er or leader, I have to #e a"are of my o"n a#ilities and short comings! ,nce this metacognition has taken place, I can #e more cogni3ant of the different affective, learning, and leadership styles of others, thus helping create positive "orking relationships, functioning teams, and highly effective leadership! This kno"ledge is further enhanced #y the team exercises and ensuing discussions of the five dysfunctions! By listening to anecdotes and o#servations of my peers, I am learning ho" others respond and pro#lem solve in leadership positions! %. What strategies might I need to employ to be more successful as a leader? By assessing my personality and learning inventories, along "ith understanding the strategies employed #y 8athryn as she "orked to mold her leadership team, and using "hat I learned from my group interactions and discussions in class, I can #egin my 2ourney of development into a strong and effective leader! From these three tools, I can learn to recogni3e my "eaknesses and compensate for them #y using a strategy! For example, one of my personality traits is to covet harmony and avoid conflict! %o"ever, if I "ere leading a team I "ould "ant to encourage constructive conflict #y not interrupting it prematurely during a discussion #ut instead allo"ing it to resolve naturally! This may #e messy and it may indicate a loss of control, #ut it is necessary for a team to practice healthy conflict!

Tracy H. Aitken

I "ould also "ant to dra" upon my strengths, put into practice "hat I learn, and reflect on this practice "ith an eye for revision or change! For example, one of my stronger trait is that I am a risk taker and open to ne" ideas! I currently hold a leadership role on a curriculum #uilding team! If I can organi3e the team using "hat I kno" a#out ho" to get the #est out of people #ased on their strengths, and then motivate the team to create and evaluate our ideas together, follo"ing spirited and productive discussion, and finally have the courage to assess "hat "e have created, opening it up to outside criti'ue, and making any necessary changes to the product, then I could prove to #e a more successful and vital leader! &. Where do I need to de!elop to be more effecti!e? Because my personality traits emphasi3e caring and harmony, I sometimes have difficulty communicating clearly and honestly! Instead of #eing direct "ith a re'uest or a criticism, I usually avoid it or approach it indirectly! For example, I "ork closely "ith a li#rary secretary! 0he is my su#ordinate and I am responsi#le for her yearly revie"s! I rely upon her immensely in our day to day operations and I am fortunate that she is very kno"ledga#le! %o"ever, there are times "hen I have to correct a mistake she may have made or clarify a misunderstanding on some task directions! Instead of approaching her directly "ith a statement such as, 9I.ve discovered that some of the #ooks you have processed do not include a young adult designation! -e need to fix that #efore the end of the "eek,: I might say something like, 9 ;ou did a great 2o# "ith those #ooks! Thanks for getting them ready!: Then, I "ould either fix the pro#lem myself or, if I didn.t have time, I "ould leave them on her desk the next morning "ith a sticky note! In fact, I use the sticky note approach often "hen I make my re'uests! Because "e.ve "orked together so long, and she does have a lot of experience, I feel uncomforta#le giving her clear and honest directives, not "anting to offend her! If I am to serve in a leadership capacity "ith many su#ordinates, this is definitely something I need to "ork on! I might "ant to engage in role play scenarios or #rainstorm, "rite, and reflect on "hat expectations I have for my su#ordinates and meet "ith them from the #eginning to clarify and to ans"er 'uestions! I hope that future experiences in this program "ill also allo" me to practice clear and honest communication! '. If I(m putting together a team) what should I loo" for in the members? I "ould #egin #y taking a close look at the purpose and mission of the team, asking myself 'uestions such as "hat is the end product, ho" much time do "e have, and ho" many people are needed and availa#le< Then I

Tracy H. Aitken

"ould pull team mem#ers that "ould "ork #est together to get the 2o# done! This assumes that, as an effective leader, I have evaluated my team mem#ers #y either leadership/personality trait assessments or #y team #uilding exercises! The team.s task or purpose is also important "hen considering "hat type of strengths are needed! For example, if I am putting together a curriculum "riting team, I "ould like to have a creative thinker, an organi3ed and se'uential thinker, and a good communicator! The creative thinker "ould #e essential to #eginning the process! -hen "riting a ne" curriculum, it.s necessary to evaluate "hat.s already in place, "hat.s out there in other divisions, and then to think outside the #ox to create a frame"ork and template! That.s "here the organi3ed and se'uential thinker "ould prove invalua#le! This type of thinker could collate and synthesi3e all of the ideas and suggestions, and organi3e them into a format that is clearly understanda#le and thorough! For once the curriculum is designed, it must #e implemented! Finally, it "ould #e helpful to have a good communicator on the team! This person "ould #e charged "ith explaining the ne" curriculum to the stakeholders and should #e skillful at clarifying and ans"ering 'uestions! 1n effective team leader should #e a#le to recogni3e 'uickly "hich team mem#ers "ould fit a team! If the team mem#ers have #een exposed to team #uilding exercises and had experience "orking together on other pro2ects, they should #e up to a challenging task such as "riting curriculum! 1n effective team leader should also motivate her team throughout the process, checking in "ith them at scheduled intervals, and should feel confident correcting pro#lems "ith "orking relationships and 2o# responsi#ilities! =. What types of people might I ha!e the most trouble wor"ing with and what strategies might I employ to facilitate team building and collaboration? I "ould pro#a#ly have difficulty "ith someone "ho is extremely extraverted #ecause my thoughts and ideas might not get heard! 1lso, I may have difficulty "orking "ith someone "ho is very 2udgmental, #ecause I "ork "ell #y #eing flexi#le and spontaneous and I can see this conflicting "ith someone "ho is very deli#erate and structure oriented! If I "ere a leader facilitating team #uilding and colla#oration, I "ould identify team characteristics that "ould predict success, similar to my curriculum team in 'uestion eight! I "ould create a team profile matching these

Tracy H. Aitken

characteristics to specific team mem#ers! I "ould identify potential pro#lem characteristics on the team, and use intervention strategies to try to change these characteristics! 1s a leader, I "ould also o#serve the team in action, interact "ith them, and follo" up at intervals! 1s leader of the team, I "ould communicate a clear purpose to the team, clarify each mem#er.s role and assignment, and emphasi3e and expect consensus decision making, listening, open communication, and civili3ed disagreement! These team #uilding strategies are all demonstrated in Lencioni.s The Five Dysfunctions of a Team! 1*. What do I as a leader bring to my organi+ation? I am a reflective person! If I serve on a committee, I usually research the charge and come to the ta#le having already thought a#out the pro2ect! I have the a#ility to see patterns and make associations! I can also #e creative! My supervisor has told me, on a num#er of occasions, that she likes to run ideas #y me #ecause she kno"s I "ill make a connection she may have missed or recogni3e an alternative to a situation! I am a kind person "ho can empathi3e "ith others! I notice "hen a mood or tone changes in a team meeting, and can usually #ring the issue to the ta#le in a non threatening and productive "ay! I am flexi#le and receptive to ne" thoughts and ideas! I can #e articulate and passionate a#out ideas, yet can compromise "hen necessary! ,n the LCI, confluence "as a high rating for me! I am not afraid to fail! 6either am I afraid to try ne" strategies, ne" technologies, or to seek ne" colla#orators! In my current position as a single school li#rarian in a secondary school, I have a uni'ue challenge! I must create and administer a program that is vital to the school mission and culture! In this, my current leadership position, I feel that I am successful! ,art II- ,ractical .pplication 7ro#lem> The situation I choose to reflect upon is my entry position into school li#rarianship! I #ecame a #rand ne" li#rarian in a school "here the previous li#rarian had left a static and unpopular program! I "as ne" to #oth a profession and to #uilding relationships "ith staff, students and community stakeholders! 1lthough experienced and an effective collection #uilder, the leaving li#rarian "as not highly regarded! I kne" this #ecause I "as a seventh grade teacher at the same school for several years and I "as familiar "ith the comments of the students, the other teachers, and of the principal! %er li#rary "as one "here students "ere expected to #e 'uiet and respectful, and they "ere "elcomed only if they had a specific purpose assigned #y a teacher! To my

Tracy H. Aitken

mind, there is nothing "rong "ith 'uiet times and places in the li#rary! 6or is there anything "rong "ith expecting a respectful demeanor from students! 1 purpose is also a good "hen visiting the li#rary! %o"ever, she "as very rigid in her interpretation of these expectations and the li#rary "as mostly empty of students, classes, and teacher colla#orators! -hen I #egan "ork early that 1ugust #efore school opening, I had a conversation "ith the principal a#out ho" she regarded the li#rary! 0he offered insights into "hat she thought the pro#lems "ere, and made some suggestions! %o"ever, #ecause she kne" and trusted me as a classroom teacher, she allo"ed me to #egin to make positive changes on my o"n! I made a four pronged action plan centering around the li#rary.s physical space, pu#lic relations to recoup some damage control, colla#oration attempts to #egin #uilding important instructional partnerships "ith teachers, and collection development! 1lthough the li#rary "as already ne", #right, and open, it lacked personality! Therefore, I arranged for accent "alls to #e painted, purchased vi#rant upholstered chair covers for the independent reading space, created larger and clearer directional signage, and I ordered 4 oversi3ed movie/#ook posters as an eye catching focal point! 7u#lic relations "as a much needed effort, as patrons "ere not fre'uenting the li#rary in great num#ers! Therefore, I created a li#rary #rochure highlighting some of the activities, reading programs, and features of the li#rary and made it availa#le to students, faculty, parents, and the community! I redesigned the "e#page to include links that students and teachers might find helpful, and added a picture of the li#rary "ith student users! I added after hours for student researchers on Mondays until ?pm, I opened the li#rary to students for one day a "eek in the summer month of 1ugust, and I #egan li#rary marketing strategies such as #ring your local li#rary card during the month of 0eptem#er for a treat, 9cele#rity: scary story readers at %allo"een, and a school "ide created Dr! 0euss poem for @ead 1cross 1merica day! To increase much needed colla#oration "ith teachers, I started Li#rary 7erks, morning coffee and a snack in the li#rary on the first Friday of each month, I visited "orkrooms during lunch times to chat "ith teachers, "ith the help of my principal I identified key people in each department "ho might #e open to forming colla#orative partnerships, and I attended and did mini presentations at department meetings! Finally, I #egan to "ork on the collection, "hich "as already good, #ut I felt could #e more relevant! I #egan #y developing a cyclical ? year collection development plan focusing on standards of learning, teacher re'uests, and respected and "ell revie"ed adolescent literature! I "eeded older #ooks, I created ne" #ook displays, I added a "ay

Tracy H. Aitken

for students to recommend #ooks, and I added a #ook #log to our "e#site, 9Books in the Middle:, "hich gave students an outlet for revie"ing and finding good #ooks! The results are primarily good! $ach year, I collect a myriad of statistics from circulated #ooks, to individual students using the li#rary, to classes and departments using the li#rary, to documentation of the success of research and reading programs! I also had statistics from the previous li#rarian and they revealed that, follo"ing my changes to the li#rary program, student usage of the li#rary has risen over ?)A over the past B years, #ooks checked out per student at our school exceeds each of the other county middle schools, and classes coming to the li#rary for instruction has risen over 4?A! In addition, I have evaluated and assessed my program as I pursued and earned a 6ational Board Certification in Li#rary 0cience in )**C, and in )*DD, I "as recogni3ed #y the Eirginia 1ssociation of 0chool Li#rarians as the Eirginia.s 0chool Li#rarian of the ;ear! Finally, li#rary program assessment surveys have indicated an overall =CA satisfaction rating "ith our li#rary program! %aving touted those results, ho"ever, there are areas that are in need of improvement, "hich I "ill address next! I am grateful to have #een recogni3ed #y my peers for my accomplishments, and I am fortunate that I am highly regarded #y my administrators! %o"ever, regardless of this success, there is still much that can #e improved "ith our li#rary program! Colla#oration num#ers dropped last year! I had to discontinue a much loved Fuys and Firls @ead program due to #udget cuts, I failed to receive a grant I applied for, "e are "oefully #ehind in e #ook ac'uisition and use, there are ne" technologies such as the 0martBoard and i7ads "hich are not getting as used as often as I.d like, and my circulation num#ers are on a slight do"n"ard trend! -hat "ould I have done differently< In retrospect, I "ould pro#a#ly have spent some of my #udgeted funds differently! -hen I #egan in the li#rary, eight years ago, I had a #udget close to GDH,***! T"o years ago, it "as do"n to GH***, and last year it "as increased to GC?**! Books, in all of their formats, are rising in price, data#ase su#scriptions are increasing, video streaming services are headed the same "ay! My #iggest regret is that I didn.t have the foresight to 2ump on the electronic #ook #and"agon sooner! This is definitely the "ay of the future, and the present, in li#rary services, and of course, #oth the e #ooks, the delivery system and the devices are very expensive! I.m currently in a catch up situation and "ill need to come up "ith a plan to increase this vital ne" presence in our li#rary!

Tracy H. Aitken

My LCI results indicate se'uence as my use first characteristic! This helps me #rainstorm, create lists, prioriti3e, and put plans into action, all crucial elements "hen #eginning a ne" li#rary program! 7recision and confluence tied for a close second use characteristic! I like to have a good handle on "hat is happening throughout my school! I like 9#eing in the kno": and this helps me #uild colla#orative partnerships and stay in touch "ith ne" directives, instructional techni'ues, and technologies! 1 strong confluence rating suggests that I am not afraid to fail! Being alone in my position, along "ith the responsi#ility of creating and maintaining a vital program, is not for the faint of heart! Being a risk taker helps me in this regard! I am an I6F7, an indicator common to li#rarians! My reflective and 'uiet nature dra"s me to literature and research, the life #lood of my profession! My intuition allo"s me to see ho" I "ant our school li#rary to #e! I can imagine "hat it could #e in the future! Being a#le to recogni3e patterns and associations allo"s me to evaluate the state of our current li#rary program and make vital decisions a#out ho" to gro" and evolve! %aving an emphathetic and kind nature allo"s me to seek out and form relationships "ith my patrons and stakeholders! Finally, #eing flexi#le and open to change allo"s me to respond "ith grace to the many interruptions and re'uests that interrupt my day! 1lthough I am a single li#rarian at my school, I am still part of a greater faculty and community of li#rarians and other educators! I am often called to #e a part of a team, "hether it is the curriculum #uilding team that I am currently leading, or the 'uality planning council that addresses our accrediatation to state standards, or the county committee charged "ith creating ne" teacher evaluation standards! I have explored in earlier assignments ho" Lencioni.s The Five Dysfunctions of a Team has helped me understand my role on committees such as these and "ays that I might improve either my actions or those of other committee mem#ers! In relation to my creation of a solid li#rary program, the Lencioni #ook can certainly help me as I continue to forge ne" instructional relationships "ith my teachers! 7erhaps there is a teacher "ho has never responded to my colla#orative overtures! I should look more closely at this teacher.s personality and learning style and her interactions "ith others, to see if I haven.t yet tried the right approach! May#e I need to #e more direct "ith the math teachers, approaching them from a place of facts or practicality! There has #een lots of food for thought throughout this first class! I.m inspired to #egin to put into practice some of my ne" learning during the upcoming ne" school year! If there.s one "onderful aspect of a pu#lic school

Tracy H. Aitken

educator.s "ork experience, it is that each year #rings rene"al and an opportunity for a fresh start! I look for"ard to itI

Lencioni, 7! ()**)+! The five dysfunctions of a team> 1 leadership fa#le! (First ed!+! 0an Francisco> Jossey Bass Inc 7u#!