Finally gotten around to re-reading my notes from PLA12. This conference is always one of my favorites and I would encourage anyone in public library service to make PLA a priority in professional development. I enjoyed nearly every program presentation at PLA this year and now think it is high time to share a few highlights.
Commando Diplomacy: Building Skills and Tolerance for Having Difficult Conversations and Making Real Progress by Amy Hartmann and Meg Delaney from Toledo-Lucas County Public Library.
Presented Thursday March 15, 2012
I was attracted to this program by the title and that it didn’t require any audience participation weirdness. (I don’t like sharing feelings or role playing and I don’t want to watch others do this either.) I think this should have been required when I started working in libraries. I was pleased that the idea of managing “up” as well as “down” was discussed. I know much of this seems obvious as I write it up, but I did feel energized.
Depersonalize. QTIP: Quit Taking It Personally
Co-workers are not always fully aware of each other’s responsibilities and issues. Think of the adage “walk a mile in my shoes”.
Take the long view. The other person is probably not going anywhere anytime soon. What do you ultimately want to achieve?
Treat problem co-workers as difficult patrons. Focus on here and now and realize you cannot control others, only your own behavior.
Find a mentor/co-worker that will be a sounding board and give you a reality check.
Perhaps my favorite, and if you are a new librarian looking for a clear way to manage “up” try this strategy in a one on one setting. Use this in making your agenda.
- Share your critical needs (1 or 2 points only!)
- Share what is new.
- Give updates on continuing projects/issues.
- Ask “how can I help you?”
- Discuss your own ideas for professional development.
These are great tips, especially for newbies in librarianship looking to get some control over their own career. Veteran librarians, these are good reminders for you to stay focused on your long term objectives.