How Not to be a Library Leader

woman riding a cartoon octopus with a speech bubble that says NOPE

I am the very first person to say that I am not a perfect leader or manager, followed in a close second by my staff (LOVE THEM.) But I think that I have managed to at least not be horrible.

So while I think I’m getting this whole manager thing figured out, I can certainly look back on my career for examples of how NOT to be a leader. At this point, I feel like if I’m not doing the following things, I might be doing OK.

Ohh! It’s a listicle!

  1. Constantly complain about the people who work for you
    Seriously, what’s up with this? I guess I’m sorry that you think that everyone who works under you is a lazy blithering idiot, but at the end of the day that’s on you. Stop it, just stop it.
  2. Set high expectations, but don’t provide the necessary resources or training to meet them
    People need expectations and goals to grow and do better. So make sure you set some super high expectations, and just tack them right on top of everything else your staff has to do without providing physical resources, money, or time to meet them.
  3. Make sure those expectations are arbitrary and created without any input from the staff who will have to carry them out!
    See #1. If you think everyone who works for you is useless, whyever would you ask for their input. But seriously, if it’s been awhile since you worked a reference/circulation desk, you should ask the people who still do it what would make their work better or more efficient.
  4. Assume that good performance is a given, and never praise anyone for it
    <sarcasm>Praising people is a useless waste of time. Just think, for every minute you spend praising someone for doing their job well, you could be pointing out one of their flaws! Besides no one ever does a better job when they think their supervisor believes in them!</sarcasm>
  5. Take the patrons word about what happened as truth, not matter how outlandish it may sound
    Yup that’s right. If the patron is claiming that your staff member stole their soul. Or that even though the staff went out of their way to make sure the patron got everything they wanted, they looked at them funny while doing it. OR that the staff member followed your policy perfectly and they just want to complain about the policy! Don’t even bother asking said staff member what happened, it’s totes the staff’s fault.
  6. Hire great people, and then totally ignore anything they have to say!
    See #1
  7. Stay in your office
    Really, stay in there! Who knows what kind of craziness is happening outside it’s doors! You might have to like, talk to a patron or something.

I’m so glad that I have been lucky enough to have some really amazing bosses who DON’T do this stuff. It doesn’t make watching it happen any easier, but hey, at least I get to know that it isn’t everyone! Also this was super cathartic, so there is that.

Note: My current boss is amazing and does none of these things and she farts butterflies 🙂

Back to Top