10 Years, 4 Libraries, 2 Office Moves & 1 Staff Retreat Later: A Leader Emerges
10 Years, 4 Libraries, 2 Office Moves and 1 Staff Retreat Later: A Leader Emerges Mary Carmen Chimato Head, Access & Delivery Services NCSU Libraries Raleigh, NC
Once upon a time in a land called Philadelphia….
A brand new librarian accepted her first professional position at the small and somewhat forgotten, Florence A. Moore Library of Medicine. (That same day the power went out in the entire building.)
Though the library was quiet and use was on the decline, the new librarian was fortunate to have a Fairy Godmother who transformed our Newbie Librarian into a Slightly More Experienced Librarian . (Maybe it didn’t actually happen that way.)
Twenty-two months had passed and our Slightly More Experienced Librarian felt that it was time to expand her horizons. With her Fairy Godmother’s blessings, our Librarian accepted the position as Head of Access Services at the Health Sciences Library at Stony Brook University. (On her first day, August 14, the Northeast Blackout of 2003 occurred.)
This was a sign of things to come… (Despite all the smiles, I was not the best leader.)
Our Librarian was very talented when it came to some things: <ul><li>make signs </li></ul><ul><li>run ILS reports </li></ul><ul><li>fix ILLiad problems </li></ul><ul><li>create e-reserves workflows </li></ul><ul><li>create manuals </li></ul><ul><li>teach classes </li></ul><ul><li>answer reference questions </li></ul><ul><li>interact with patrons </li></ul><ul><li>spend an entire day hunting day an 8 foot long piece of wood!!!!!!! </li></ul><ul><li>(I’m also pretty calm during a TB scare, an unexpected collection shift and when dealing with domestic violence issues….all the week before my vacation.) </li></ul>
But not so great in other areas. (I blame the staff.)
Almost 4 years had passed and our Slightly More Experienced Librarian had transformed into a Manager. Recognizing that it was once again time to move on and broaden her horizons, she accepted the position as Head, Access & Delivery Services at the North Carolina State University Libraries. (On her second day, January 3, 2007, Raleigh got it’s first snowfall of the year. With the exception of 3 people, the entire ADS department called out.)
In the 3 years she has been at NCSU, our librarian has moved her office twice - once to accommodate ice cream, survived three blackouts, purchased a golf cart, has seen half her department turn over and has handled every possible staffing issue you can imagine. She transformed from a Manager to a Leader. This is the true beginning of the story. (I blame the staff.)
ADS at NCSU Libraries: <ul><li>33 full time staff </li></ul><ul><li>24/5 during the academic year </li></ul><ul><li>circulation, course reserves, ILL, document delivery, stacks maintenance, media/microforms, & offsite collections </li></ul><ul><li>16,000 visits per day 2008/09 </li></ul><ul><li>textbook collection and technology device lending </li></ul>
Basic Responsibility as a Leader: Development of productive, creative, inspired, determined, focused, energized, and well disciplined individuals.
My responsibility as a leader: <ul><li>Resolve issues and create environment of trust </li></ul><ul><li>Ensure that most of the energy expended in the department is focused on achieving the desired goals </li></ul>How to achieve this? <ul><li>Ask difficult questions </li></ul><ul><li>Challenge one another’s beliefs </li></ul><ul><li>Arrive at decisions that everyone agrees to support </li></ul><ul><li>Hold one accountable for behaviors that are not conducive to achieving goals </li></ul>
A Radical Idea: Talk to your people!!!!!! Organizational Clarity: identifying and agreeing to the fundamental concepts that drive it. ***Providing all employees, at all levels with a common vocabulary and a set of assumptions about what is important and what is not.*** Reinforce this clarity through Human Systems: hiring, performance management, rewards & recognition, employee dismissal. (Staff Retreats are really good ways to do this.)
The GREATEST Day of our Librarian’s Professional Career The First Annual ADS Staff Retreat August 5, 2009 What values are fundamental to our department? Why does the library exist and what difference does it make in our world? How/Where does ADS fit? What are our goals for the next year/5 years/10 years? Who has to do what in order for us to meet them? (An unfamiliar, but pleasing and invigorating sense of unity, focus, drive, and purpose was felt by all in the room.)
What We Learned After Being Locked in a Room Together <ul><li>More Feedback at EVERY LEVEL! </li></ul><ul><li>DELEGATE! </li></ul><ul><li>Allow Risk Taking </li></ul><ul><li>Training & Development </li></ul><ul><li>Generate HIGHER Expectations </li></ul><ul><li>Acknowledge Achievement </li></ul><ul><li>All of our Levels of Immeasurability are different, but very similar!!!! </li></ul>
My Staff Taught Me How to be an Effective Leader Putting Work into Context vision, create big picture, set goals, monitor performance. Develop the Follower provide direct/honest feedback, coaching, let them make mistakes. Lead by Example honesty, acknowledging own shortcomings, confidence, commitment. Provide Support available, approachable, encouraging, listens, receptive to ideas, safety net.
The Most Important Lesson I Learned: My Attitude is Everything Basic objective of an effective leader is to get the best performance possible out of the people they lead. This requires: A positive attitude Patience A sense of humor Humility Confidence Bravery COMMITMENT Leaders focus on their FOLLOWERS not themselves.