Background: Leadership is a necessary facet of professional practice for health library and information managers (HLIMs). Several training needs analyses (TNA) in the health library and information services field have been conducted in recent years, all identifying a need for professional development in leadership skills. However, these previous TNAs have not focused on specific elements of leadership skills required by health library and information managers.
Objectives: The National Library for Health (NLH) commissioned the School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR) at the University of Sheffield to conduct a TNA where HLIMs assess their current leadership skills and identify any future development needs in this area. The results would inform a programme of influencing skills workshops.
Methods: HLIMs in the UK were invited to complete a self-assessment online questionnaire. The questionnaire utilised items from Manning and Robertson’s Influencing Skills Style Profile (ISSP). This allowed the results to be characterised by influencing ‘style’.
Results: HLIMs considered themselves to have strengths in the leadership areas of influencing, negotiating, managing change and delivering presentations to decision-makers. They identified significant development needs in communicating with stakeholders, conflict resolution, using body language and being assertive. Most HLIMs demonstrated two collaborative styles identified by the ISSP, namely strategic collaborator and opportunistic collaborator.
Conclusions: In difficult times, HLIMs may need to adapt to more of an ‘opportunistic-battler’ influencing style. It is important that HLIMs not only assess their own leadership skills but also that they take opportunities to employ 360° feedback, comprising assessment from subordinates, peers and supervisors.