19 October, 2007

in which the ADHD librarian is more forgiving of others

Some of you saw my recent rant, others have only seen a post about it having been removed.
here is another attempt at a more 'everyone knows who you're talking about' friendly version.

Managing people is a hard thing to do, managing me (or any other hyper intelligent ADHD nutjob) is probably harder. Why? Well:
  • I don't always remember what I've been doing when you ask me.
  • I don't always plan things before I do them
  • I don't always tell you my plans before I start things
  • I don't usually finish tasks in a logical order
  • I work in bite sized chunks (made more pronounced by the constant disruptions you get by having the closest office to the circ desk and the closest office to the children's area)
  • I do 90% of a task then get bored and start something else, so you don't get a completed project for months, then you'll get a dozen in one afternoon as I put all the finishing touches together.
  • I don't always look like I'm listening (even when I am)
  • I don't always listen (even when I think I am)
  • Stuff
So I can understand when those who are tasked with my supervision are concerned. I would however like to think that this is quite an easy problem to deal with.
I am approachable, I am slow to anger, I am relaxed about having people point out my faults because I am myself quite aware of most of them.

I guess where I do get angry though is when people act like I am a wayward child.
Perhaps I play up to this aspect of my personality here, but I like to think that my work speaks for itself in the real world. And I have certainly managed to be successful in a wide variety of library roles (once my supervisors get to grips with the fact that I am not quite 'normal')

how would I manage me (and how have I managed others in my time as a librarian)?
After all I have had the audacity to present a conference paper on the theme.

In no particular order, some short points:
  • If it works, don't worry about how
  • If it doesn't work who best to fix it
  • Everyone is important (not just the professionals)
  • Don't get personal
  • You can't tell people to volunteer
  • You can't force people to like you
  • You can't legislate esprit de corps, but you can kill it
  • Don't play favorites
  • Listen to everyone
  • Don't say "my door is always open", get off your arse and spend some time in the workroom
Some longer points:
  • I truly think that one of the most important skills for a library manager is the ability to do all the jobs in the library or at the very least to understand them.During my time in the big chair I prided myself on this. I made sure that I learned enough of everyones role to understand why they did what they did.
    Now, i would not have been able to do these jobs as well, as quickly or as thoroughly but if staff know you have a certain level of understanding then it is easier to deal with issues which may arise. It also puts you in a stronger position if you are commenting on an employees work habits.
  • Everyone starts with an assumption of 100% trust and capability and there is no need to get into anyone's face in order to look for fault. Everyone has some (I have plenty) and if they are too damaging to their productivity they will become obvious in time.
  • Don't treat employees like your children
    OK I know I've posted about this before but there have been way too many librarians in my life who assumed I wanted them to treat me like I was their idiot son.
    I am not your son, I am an idiot only in a couple of specific areas (which I am open and upfront about) and I do not respond well to being treated like a child.
    Come to think of it, your son(s) probably don't like being treated like that. Umm OK that's a sore point.
  • Never (ever) get the opinion you are a good manager. Always assume you have areas which need to be improved and be open about them, because your staff are probably able to name half a dozen things they think you're crap at. But they won't care about those things if they know you are currently focusing on improving your management style in some way.
Yep, that'll do for now.
It isn't personal, it addresses so many issues (and not just in my current position) and I think it may well just be a constructive post for some who read it.


R&R Library said...

I like your points about managers but the one that really hit home was "Never(ever) get the opinion you are a good manager". I have been library manager for 4 months and finally am starting to feel a little more comfortable in the role. However, I will endeavour to keep in mind your post so I don't get complacent!

R&R Library said...

Totally agreed with your points but the one that really hit home was the last "Never(ever) get the opinion you are a good manager". Have been one for only 4 months and am just starting to feel comfortable. Will try to make sure I don't get complacent!