Today I was reading a blog post from Naomi house called Not Bossy –The Boss! and found some of its insights to be of particular use to the MLIS community.
One of the things that is more feared by the anyone in industry is receiving a leadership role within your organization and not knowing to react to it. Common thoughts usually involve: Will I do a good job? Will they hate me? Will I have to deal with a lot of internal conflict? And can’t we all just get along?
There are a couple rules to keep in mind when in a leadership role that Naomi discusses, some of which I have some personal experience dealing with and should help anyone entering the role of a leader.
First off is without a doubt knowing your organization. Naomi has this listed first in her post and it is something I feel needs to be truly emphasized. In my past experience, from being in both positions of a manager and as an employee under competent and incompetent managers is that the incompetent ones usually did not truly understand their company and therefore were not able to truly act on behalf and in benefit of that organization. During my own stint in the managerial role, I found that the more I understood about the organization, the more I was able to respond and answer staff questions or issues more thoroughly. My staff came to respect me as an authority as I could answer this questions without hesitation and accurately.
After truly understanding the organization you work for there are a few other items on Naomi’s list that are of particular use. Listening and Collaborating are of particular importance. Staff who might have issues, or patrons that might have complex requests or needs or occurrences that will happen, being able to actively listen and make correct suggestions based on what was gleaned from the conversation is an essential skill not just being in a managerial role, but as someone serving the public, it is an extremely important skill to have. Once the information has been collected knowing your limits is also of great importance, and this is where the collaborating part comes in. If something seems like it might be difficult to handle, never be afraid to ask for assistance; relying on your staff is a good thing, just make sure to also put the effort in, rather than just passing on the work.
The final point discussed by Naomi I wanted to discuss is being ready to fail. You will fail. But as Naomi points out, failing ultimately leads to learning and innovation. Learning what not to do and what to do for future occurrences. It is essential that rather than becoming upset and dwelling on any past failure, that you instead take that failure and turn it into a learning experience. In the end this will make you a better manager, as all experience (good or bad) is still experience.
I hope this helped out in some way, and if you have any questions, please feel free to leave them below!