So often managers, in and outside of libraries, concentrate only on managing those they supervise. But I’m here to tell you, or remind you, that you also need to cultivate your relationships with those above you on your organizational chart, in other words, your managers and boss. Sometimes this is referred to as “managing up.”
I think that the article Managing the Managers (American Libraries, March 2013) does a fine job of describing how to manage up in libraries. Although written for youth services staff, these 10 tips can be applied to any library manager. I have trouble pulling out my favorite few, but here goes:
- Build relationships. Get to know your boss, and be sure to talk about big picture issues as well as your specific area.
- Communicate. This goes along with building the relationship, but also includes keeping management informed about what’s happening in your department. Include statistics.
- Don’t stop at “no.” Don’t expect management to approve every suggestion you make, but if they don’t approve something you feel strongly about, be willing to tweak your ideas and re-introduce them, based on their input.
- Tell stories. Be sure to share success stories and examples of your department’s positive impact on the community. Keep a list of these handy; you never know when you’ll need them.
- Keep vision and mission in mind. Given my fondness for strategic planning, it’s not surprising to find this one included as one of my favorite tips from the list, is it? I told you they were important!
But these are just my favorites, and as I told you, I had trouble limiting to just those. So do read the entire post. Which tips strike a chord with you?
For further reading:
- Managing Up: How to Forge an Effective Relationship With Those Above You (from Amazon)
- 7 Ways to Manage Up (Penelope Trunk)