A colleague and I were talking last week when he said, “So and so seems pleasant.” I thought about this for awhile afterwards because I kind of laughed to myself when I thought, “No one will ever call me pleasant.” And I decided I was OK with that. You see, my colleague didn’t mean it as a compliment or a put-down, either way. This person just *is* and they are not good or bad. I’ve been thinking a lot about the labels we use for people because I’ve been doing a lot of reading (and some writing) about gender and leadership.
Also, I’ve been slacking on the blog (per usual) because BUSY but I thought I’d put down what I was thinking about this particular encounter in terms of what exactly I think my legacy would be in librarianship (and in management) and how people describe me and hope it makes you think about the ways you are described.
I hope the people I work with outside of the library say things like I’m forward thinking, visionary, dependable, creative, maybe bossy, talkative, go getter, any of those things. One of my closest colleagues on campus calls me a “like minded” person. That’s totally a compliment. Some people would think some of those descriptors are negative, I do not.
I pretty much think I’m the opposite of pleasant. A warm breeze is pleasant.
I don’t want to be a warm breeze. I don’t want to be something wishy-washy.
People who have worked closest with me over the years would probably have a variety of opinions. Ha. But I think most would say that I am a listener and a doer. I am saucy, maybe. I have a lot of energy. I rock the boat. I can be pushy. I take chances and I encourage others to do the same. Those who have extended me patience and kindness, would say I do the same. I am also a fighter for the things I believe in, but really would prefer not to fight about work or libraries ever. (Pretty sure I’ve been called the B word. Pretty sure I do not care.) I am a hard worker. But I am fun, too.
If I think of the best librarians I’ve worked with, I would say they were: reliable, collegial, creative, fun, high energy, strong, doers, forward-thinking.
So then, when I think about all of the bosses I’ve ever had, I would describe them as: strong, smart, forward thinking, vivacious, loud, thinker, spur of the moment, spirited, judgmental, and funny, but never pleasant. (This is really an amalgamation of three good leaders.)
What do you want your legacy to be? Do you want to be pleasant or something else?