Since putting in my resignation, I’ve been faced with the question of “why?” quite a bit.
“Why are you leaving?”
“How could things be different?”
“Why are others not happy here?”
“How can we change the organization for the future?”
On one hand, I’m glad they are asking. On the other, I can’t help but think that the only way I really prompted this much care or interest was by quitting my job. Maybe that was the point…I had to lose my job so that others can have greater happiness here. I’m okay with that. I guess what my favorite prof, Dr. M, said was true, “Sometimes the only way you can be heard is with your feet…”
So now that I’m being grilled on how to make things better, I’m struggling with one question:
How do you teach “soft skills”?
Balancing budgets and making sure student behavior is well monitored is one thing, and they are very good at that. But how on earth do you teach the warm and fuzzies that are actually very crucial to management?
I am looking at the Human Nature at Work website and am a big fan of the book Growing Great Employees but translating all of that into tangible concepts that this organization will grasp? Well, I don’t know if that’s going to happen.
Okay, not a rant per se. There was a pretty interesting article in MSN Money today about the things that grocery cashiers do that are annoying. However, I’ve seen variations of all these things in libraries too! No eye contact, not thanking a person for their business, etc. etc.
Click here to read the full article!
The best bit of advice: good customer service starts with management. Wow! Hold me back! What a concept! Everything starts with management – from good attitudes, to limiting gossip, to creating community and developing a standard of service. The best leadership is by example, no?
Hmmm, this all reminds me of a recent post at Not Your Mother’s Weblog! All I want is customer service. Is this so much to ask?
Today I held a lunchtime wedding shower for one of my employees. It was my way of saying thanks to someone who works hard and demonstrates immense work ethic and concern for her work.
I think that too often, the detail-mindedness of librarians can become our downfall. We are so busy seeing what is “not right” and what needs to be fixed that we don’t see what is right and don’t say thank you to people who do well. More often than not, when you ask a librarian about how things are going at work, you get a negative response or a litany of the things going wrong. I do it myself, so I know. But I make a special effort to tell my employees “thank you” every day and tell them a thing or two that I was happy with. I find that when the time comes for me to tell them they did something not-quite-right, they respond more quickly and try harder.
Doesn’t that all seem obvious? It seems like a “Well, DUH!” sort of thing, but it must not be, because not a lot of bosses do that. I know mine doesn’t and it’s why I try to be mindful of it.
Before I step off my digital soapbox today, I want to share one more thing. When I was a high school vice principal, someone gave me a list of things entitled “Twenty Things I Learned from Being A Principal”. One of the things was: If someone asks you if you are busy, respond by saying, “Yes, but I have time for you”.
That single statement has been an incredibly powerful tool in my managerial toolbox and I use it often. You have more time than you think and the people around you will appreciate you stopping for them for just a few moments. Try it.