So, lots of librarians I know cringe when conversation starts to sway toward issues of management, leadership, planning, strategy… and that’s okay. Not everyone wants to be a manager, not everyone is good at strategic planning, and not everyone has the knack for leading others. That doesn’t make them bad librarians or bad people. (It might make them bad leaders and managers, but that’s another question entirely.)
I, on the other hand, revel in conversations about strategic positioning, horizon thinking, managing in our libraries, and leading from the middle. I’m a management geek. I admit it. I want to be a good leader, a strong planner, and a capable manager, and I love learning things that will make that happen.
Which is why I’m nearly giddy that I’ve found the Harvard Business blogs. If you, too, get all intrigued by discussions of workplace dynamics, generational office behaviors, “viral leadership”, and strategy and tactics for successful worker motivation, then by all means go check out these blogs. They’re conversationally written, and if you’re anything like me, they’ll spark new thoughts, remind you of good practices you’ve forgotten, and teach you things you hadn’t already encountered elsewhere. And, to paraphrase a conversation with Steven Cohen at Computers in Libraries, shouldn’t we want to learn from other industries? Doesn’t a breadth of information sources make libraries better places? I’ve added John Baldoni: Leadership at Work, Tammy Erickson: Across the Ages, Josh Bernoff and Charlene Li: The Groundswell Effect, and Michael Watkins: The Leading Edge to my reader. There are many more; pick your interest.
One of the best quotes I read this evening comes from John Baldoni in a post called “Leadership Lessons from Barack Obama’s Speech” (emphasis mine).
In tough times, or even in good times, too many senior leaders are cocooned, off limits to all but the chosen few. People want to see their leaders. Even more, they want their leaders to listen. Respect for the intelligence of an audience involves more than well-chosen words; it also involves well-chosen times for listening.
What are you doing to treat your staff like adults?