The new boss

… survived her first week at the library. I feel for her. Starting a new job is stressful. There is so much to learn – I’m sure her brain went on overload by the end of week.

Jane is our new associate dean and now she, rather than the dean, supervises all department heads. We are a pretty decent lot. Not too much in-fighting though some staff have accused us of being territorial rather than seeing the big picture. Organizations are interesting creatures. True, at times some of us get too passionate about our “territory” but I think there is a time and place for the rest of us to stand up and say “enough is enough”. (Sometimes we do that in our meetings but it doesn’t get posted to the minutes.)  As a manager, you have to learn to choose your battles. Some of those skirmishes need to sit and simmer. You may need to find your allies. You also have to recognize that you can’t win them all. Trust your colleagues – when the majority has strong feelings about something, step back (or “go to the balcony” as we learned at the ACRL Harvard Leadership Institute) and re-examine your concerns. What are you afraid will happen?

How did I get away from Jane? Well, we had our first one-on-one (or was it one-on-two ’cause the dean attended?). I look forward to getting to know her and talk about the opportunities in technical services in the coming years!

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2 thoughts on “The new boss

  1. Of course, it doesn’t help if people make rude/inappropriate comments in public forums that shows their overall lack of understanding regarding what other departments do. And then fail to apologize for harm that’s done. Doesn’t make for an environment where people feel valued or appreciated. And it definitely doesn’t lead to any sort of trust when you have to wonder when the next comment is coming.

  2. That kind of behavior is unacceptable and needs to be addressed by a supervisor. If the individual truly does not understand the work of another unit, whose job is it to educate them? Devil’s advocate: what if the dept. being criticized can’t (or won’t) honestly appraise their own work?

    I’ve worked at places where rude comments were occasionally made by the head of the organization. It was demeaning to the staff. Complaints to higher ups did no good until the complaints came from external faculty and/or users.

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