Thank you to the 1,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 questions!
I hope reading
7 Questions with Garrett Trott
helps you in your leadership.
7 Questions with Garrett Trott
Name: Garrett Trott
Current title: University Librarian
Current organisation: Corban University
My name is Garrett Trott. I am a husband, a father of three kids (David - 14, Robert - 12, and Margaret - 10). I work at Corban University Library as a University Librarian. Corban University is a small Christian institution of higher education located in Salem, Oregon. I enjoy writing and reading, and subsequently, I serve as Editor-in-Chief of two journals: Theological Librarianship and The Christian Librarian.
1. What have you found most challenging as a Christian school leader?
Balancing mission with fiscal reality. It is good to think big and to have great ambitions, but these always need to be weighed with the fiscal challenges that many Christian institutions face.
2. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
While I think structure is good, I think it needs to be held loosely. There are scenarios that come up where an individual needs a listening ear or a family member had a difficult day and needs to vent. In my opinion, structure is important, but it must always be held loosely so that relational dynamics can take priority.
3. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
Not everyone sees things the same way. That may sound very simply, but it has very profound implications. Subsequently, I need to think twice regarding how I react to/critique someone’s actions (because they likely acted that way because they see the scenario differently than I).
4. What's one book apart from the Bible that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
Steve Saccone’s Relational Intelligence. I observed that everyone is terrible at relational intelligence - unless one makes a concentrated effort to apply it. It is not something that some do well at (naturally) and others not so well. Anyone can do it, but (again), it takes effort and intention. The book has impacted my leadership by showing me what relational intelligence is, showing me that I can do it, and that it can be a great way to manifest the gospel.
5. How do you find and keep great Christian teachers?
The interview process is key and making sure they align with your mission.
6. What's most important as a Christian school leader for developing a culture of wellbeing in your staff and students?
Trust and respect. It is critical that leaders trust those under them. But that kind of trust does not mean that they simply abandon the person to do his/her work, it means that respect must develop. I like to think of it as more than just ‘respect’ in the conventional meaning, but maybe an empathetic respect: a respect accompanied with empathy that cares about the individual. As jobs tend to be a major venue through which individuals provide for their families, empathy must include advocacy for staff and their needs.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a Christian school leader so far?
I have been challenged through the last few years between knowing who I am and how I can best use my strengths/gifts/talents to manifest the vision of my workplace and stepping out into areas that are unknowns, taking risks, refining under-utilized skills and learning something new. In my opinion, we are in a culture where people know themselves well. That is not bad, it is good to know oneself. However, from my experiences, I see people using that self-awareness as a venue to limit themselves and what they will do. Individuals say “I cannot speak to a group” therefore they will not teach, or “I am gifted in administration” therefore they will not develop other areas. Granted, I know who I am, but do I fully understand how God wants to use me? Maybe in developing a new strength (from an area where I am currently uncomfortable) God wants to stretch me and enable me to grow and develop passions in areas I would have never thought possible.