Tips for management

27 Jun

I was thinking about my career path after I wrote up last night’s (rushed) #blogjune about my first Library job. I have been lucky enough to have some amazing colleagues, and received real hands on mentoring from a range of senior library staff.
I’ve been trying to offer the same to my colleagues recently, as succession planning, general mentoring and engagement with people across management levels seems reduced in recent years.

I was considering what are the key tips I have been told. Below are a few, however keep in mind that the advice that most resonates depends on the context the listener has at that time. Often multiple people had given me the same advice but I only heard it from the one who told me when I was in the right space myself. 

Self care – setting a visible work/life balance standard is not only important for your own self care; it also means that your staff can feel free to do the same. 

Management is not supervision. There is more to it, and you need to educate yourself and study the areas you need to improve if you want to make it a career. 

Learn what your stress triggers are and then practice asking for help well before you reach those stress points. Be open with your colleagues about what your behaviours under stress may be, and how to manage you if they emerge. 

In change resistant culture remember that you may not see the results of a change, or acceptance of its implementation, for up to 12 months. Do not give up early because you think you have no results. Plan for long term implementation. 

My favourite: Incompetency is almost always more likely to be the cause than maliciousness. (This one has saved me from yelling at tired people, and also lowered my own blood pressure and assumptions a lot).

Today I heard a good one – when you meet new colleagues always make time at that point to build some trust and engagement. If you wait for a future less busy time that person may already have decided not to engage with you. I like that this advice gives a great rationale for prioritising people and networks building.  

What advice do you have for colleagues based on your own work experience?

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2 Responses to “Tips for management”

  1. RachB June 28, 2017 at 8:15 am #

    I don’t have any advice as I’m a newbie to managing anyone. My current issue is the balance between giving enough instruction to make sure they understand the task to do by themselves, but not giving too much extra detail they may not need, or treating them too childlike (as I’m a parent of a teenager).

    • Ruth Baxter June 28, 2017 at 5:17 pm #

      Thanks for your comment Rach – you name a common issue to be aware of. It’s great that you recognise your own tendencies to step into a parental role, which is the first step to monitoring their impact.
      Good luck exploring the boundaries.
      I’ve always used a transparent management style, so I would fess up to whomever I was working with that I might give too much detail and they then become part of the conversation. Especially helpful when your colleagues have different learning styles.
      If you were looking for any reading on this topic, check out training on “assertiveness” which gives tips on treating both parties in a conversation as equals.

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