Library leaders may not be fully equipped to deal with the demands and rigours of the digital age and its consumers. The advent of the internet, search engines and social media require a paradigm shift in the development of these leaders. Whilst much has been written about the required competencies, there seems to be no clear guiding principle on how the development should take place. The authors propose that the development of library leaders is a process, best illustrated through movement through Drotter’s Leadership Pipeline. The importance of thinking preferences, based on Herrmann’s Whole Brain Model, is highlighted and it is shown how these often clog development through this Pipeline. Utilising data from the Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument (HBDI) assessments of the 120 participants in six of the Centre for African Library Leadership (CALL) development programmes, the authors show how the thinking preferences of these library leaders could enable or detract from their readiness to develop the appropriate competencies in the digital age. Recommendations are made on how best to overcome this to prepare library leaders to deal with the requirements of the digital age consumer.