PLA 2010: Be a Good Boss

Started Friday with a great session on being a good boss. Here are my notes:

Be a Good Boss
Cathy Hakala-Ausperk from Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library
Kimberly Bolan Cullin from Kimberly Bolan & Associates

Presentation slides

  • you’ll never be a truly great library director unless you know how to fix a toilet
  • educate yourself and set a good example
  • three kinds of bosses: newbie, know but don’t “have” time (most bosses), don’t know what they don’t know (think they know it all)
  • who’s the best boss you’ve ever had?
  • good bosses make you feel like they believe in you
  • being a boss touches every single corner of your library
  • you have to learn a lot of things, but the thing that matters the most is how you treat other people
  • bosses set the tone of the workplace and touch the lives of ppl so that they can be everything they can be
  • good bosses know that they have a lot to offer and a lot to learn
  • what’s needed to achieve and maintain greatness? three things…
  • commitment – need to have the right attitude, need the commitment to become a great boss.
  • time (1 hour a week) – how to carve out 1 hour per week: arrest the time thieves, check email only twice a day, stop polishing the pearl (not everything needs to be perfect), master the art of nonfinishing (drop the stuff that’s not worth the time, move onto to stuff that’s more productive), skip a lunch…it’s your career!
  • other professionals continue training, so should librarians! we need to invest in our own development on a personal level
  • a plan – a lot of workbooks out there that will help you put together a plan to become a good boss (cathy has a workbook coming out in summer called “be a good boss”).
  • write your own workbook – not that difficult to do. perform a SWOT analysis on your own leadership and design a plan based on those
  • mentoring is key, learning from others and sharing your wisdom and experience with others
  • mentoring can be spontaneous, not necessarily a formal thing
  • resources: and and
  • audience comments and questions:
  • stop being a know-it-all and respect where people are at and what they want for their own work and career
  • admit your mistakes, just be honest, shows strength and gains respect from staff
  • getting out into your community to the point where your staff don’t know where you are and you lose touch with them, not a good thing!
  • sign that things are going well is when there is initiative and ppl are coming forward with new ideas
  • importance of setting clear expectations and communicating them well
  • if you’re going to say something that’s kind of difficult, start by saying, “i have to say something that’s kind of difficult…”
  • how do you discipline without creating ill feelings? set clear expectations so criticism doesn’t come as a surprise. start by saying, “look, my job is to help you succeed. we have a problem…so how can we figure out how to improve things and help you succeed?” let them contribute to the solution. let hem know you’re on their side.
  • how do you help your boss become a better boss if you have a bad boss? honest communication. get a new job if it doesn’t get better. don’t stay in a workplace that makes your life miserable and doesn’t allow you to be productive and grow.

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