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Special Interest Group Archive: Leadership SIG 07/20/2022

These are the notes from meetings dating back to 2015.

July 20, 2022

The Leadership and Management Skills SIG was held via Zoom on Wednesday, July 20 at 9:30am. The facilitator was Elizabeth Portillo of Finklestein Public Library. 


The attendees were from academic and public libraries and many of us manage a few people. 

Tough Conversations: annual reviews, discipline, etc.

The sandwich: something good, what when wrong, something good again. But - it can make the compliments feel disingenuous, and some people have been burned by it. 

Call it a challenge: something that can be overcome.

Closely supervised & micromanaged people feel burned from that past experience. 

When employees have self-awareness of their own challenges, they're good at taking criticism, but what about when they're not? 

Having consistent conversations - weekly, bi-weekly meetings, help people keep in the conversation for managers to say what they're doing right and wrong and figure out how managers can help solve the problems. If you don't have time, make the time to meet as frequently as possible beyond the annual evaluation. Look for patterns in the workflow. 

When someone has something they like to do and you have to take it away, people feel that. 

Is time management the issue at the root of some of the problems when people do what they like to do instead of taking it away completely? 

There's a step before formal write-up with HR where you can put a note in someone's file that says they should not be given specific tasks. 

People who have never been held accountable are hard to get to become accountable again. 

Documenting is important when people aren't following the direction you gave them, and you can refer back to the date when you went over something. 

Time management is a little easier when managers are clear about when something is needed, why it is needed, and when you clearly communicate that to people who are working for you. 

Teen & senior citizen staff members

Some are knowledgeable and not interested in new technology, and some are fine with the tech but are stuck in the old job they used to have. 

With teens & seniors, the people who are not building a resume need help to find their purpose. They need to fulfill the role of the job, but they could use some help figuring out what motivates them is helpful to the manager. People want to feel useful or leave their mark. 

You might have to call family members or intervene if a person has legitimate cognitive issues. 

Nothing you can do will undo the way someone has worked for 45+ years. Accepting that nothing is going to change is freeing. However, you feel the burden of that person's impact on morale. 

Some people are just there to collect a paycheck, but some people are there because they love it and they don't want to leave and go elsewhere. Knowing the difference between the two can help you make management decisions. 

Middle Management

How do you communicate between the library workers and the administration? 

Your main job in talking to the director is advocating for the staff. 

But how far do you take it when the director is not willing to yield? A hard part of the job is knowing what to do and feeling frustrated when you have to be the person who says no or has to be realistic. You start to learn where the advocacy you can do hits a brick wall. 

Coming soon!

Book cover image: Hard Conversations: How to Manage People who are running out the clock.

Southeastern NY Library Resources Council
21 South Elting Corners Road | Highland, NY 12528
Phone: (845) 883-9065