Friday, April 24, 2015

Management 101, Part 1

Back in October, there was a fabulous conversation on ALA Think Tank about what is Management 101. So many people participated that the comments filled up eleven pages! I enlisted my Director (thanks, Margaret!) to help me pull out the best of the best and trimmed it down to a two part series.

Today, we'll focus on the first three categories:

A Manager Should Be...

  • Be a leader, not a manager.
  • Be professional, consistent and kind.
  • Be really aware of the power differential - people respond differently to you when you are their boss than they did when you were their peer. If you really want open dialog, you have to create an environment where people feel safe expressing their thoughts.
  • Be willing to own up to your own mistakes and shortcomings.
  • Be an active listener. Don't rush to judgement.
  • Be willing to change your mind and make sure that your staff understands that it's okay to change your mind.
  • Be compassionate - to everyone.
  • Be fair and back up your staff.
  • Be optimistic, be positive - but also be alert to the possibility that you'll be inheriting a couple long-standing, under-addressed problems that you'll be responsible for fixing.
  • Be honest, transparent, and consistent. Have integrity and start with yourself. Be the example.

A Manager Should Always...

  • Always say thank you often.
  • Always share praise.
  • Always invite feedback.
  • Always keep your composure.
  • Always deal with it NOW!
  • Always praise everyone or none at all when in front of others.
  • Always check with fellow supervisors before you ask someone else's supervisee to do something.
  • Always start any new relationship with respect regardless of anything that you've heard before. A person not worthy of respect or trust will reveal that quickly enough.

A Manager Should Do...

  • Do engender a positive work environment.
  • Do proactively earn their trust - don't just expect it.
  • Do listen more, talk less.
  • Do develop a thick skin.
  • Do retain your sense of humor.
  • Do take responsibility when you could have managed better.
  • Do reflect on the best and worst managers you ever had, and then learn from it.
  • Do have a willingness to jump into the trenches and help when it’s needed.
  • Do learn your staff's learning styles and how they communicate best.
  • Do give your employees tasks that speak to their strengths and interests whenever possible.
  • Do spend more time and energy on the people with positive attitudes than the ones with negative attitudes; understand that there's not always a solution to negative situations.
  • Do use clear communication and outlined tasks.
  • Do communicate more, and in more detail, than you think you need to.
  • Do hire good people, and then get out of the way and let them do their jobs.
  • Do find a mentor.

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