Not Everybody Can Be a Boss

Not everybody is cut out to be the boss. . .  Well, that should be obvious, shouldn’t it? But maybe it’s not. Lots of people are happy to be “worker bees” and have no intentions of ever being an administrator. But lots of others just “assume” one day they’ll rise to be a library director, or at some other level of administration. And that’s OK. But please be aware: Not everybody is cut out for it. And sometimes, you just don’t know until you try it. You can try to prepare for it. You can read about being an administrator, take courses, work your way up, whatever. But sometimes when the time comes you realize. . . This isn’t for me. And that’s OK too! You can always go back to a non-supervisory position. After all, you’re only human!


Jessica Olin, over at Letters to a Young Librarian, has written a great post about what she thought being an administrator would be like, and what it’s actually like, and the lessons/advice she’d like to pass on to those who might be considering administration as a career path.  My two favorites, I think, are the ones about delegating, and recognizing staff successes.  I would also add, give yourself time to get your “sea legs” under you. Don’t try to do everything at once. And, take care of yourself, because if you are a workaholic who works all hours of the day and night, at home and at work, you will quickly burn out.

Once you understand all the things that being an administrator involves, you will no doubt regret those days when you thought you could do it better than anyone else:

We’ve all, at least once or twice, looked at the people for whom we work and thought we could do a better job. I’m no exception. I respected the library directors I knew up until I made the decision to become an administrator, but with each of them I’d had at least a couple of moments of “oh, c’mon! Are you kidding me?”

Now that I’ve been doing the job for a couple of years, I can see how off-base I was.


This entry was posted in Employees, Leadership, Management, Public Libraries, Supervision and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Not Everybody Can Be a Boss

  1. Michelle says:

    Yep, being the boss is not always as easy as it looks. From my perspective I think one of the biggest things is to understanding that the boss doesn’t always have to have all the answers. It’s actually a strength to admit you don’t know. However, the boss does need to know how to seek answers!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I would make a great boss, but like you said, you can have the job. I’d just like some money O’m an artist, no cash there, a blogger , nox that and animal protector, too bad they’re tapped out. Paintings for sale. lol.


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