This article appeared serendipitously just after the Library (capital L-all staff and faculty) was closed so we could all attend a library wide retreat entitled The Library as a Learning Organization: Creating a Shared Vision of Internal Customer Service.
1. If you want to become even more effective in reaching stretch goals, work on your ability to inspire and motivate others: Inspiring and motivating is itself the most powerful competency for extraordinary leaders. When people are inspired and motivated to achieve a result that seems beyond their grasp, the likelihood of achieving that stretch goal is far greater.
2. If you want to take your ability to think strategically to new heights, work on your communication skills: Do you know of any organizations with a good strategy that no one really understands? Or worse, one with a great strategy that no one knows about? Neither do I.
3. Make more of your ability to be customer focused by becoming more proficient in connecting your group to the outside: Exposure to varied experiences, new metaphors, and different ways of thinking helps you conceive of additional applications for your company’s offerings that may help you chart a more effective strategic plan.
4. Take your ability to solve problems further by strengthening your approach to fostering diversity and inclusion. Leaders who can understand the experience of different parties can make more-informed decisions.
5. If you want to become even more effective an innovator, work on your ability to champion change: There’s not as much value in innovation when the objective is to maintain the status quo. Put these two together and you have a recipe for great ideas that propel organizations in a new direction.
6. Make your natural process orientation more effective by improving your interpersonal skills: If you can infuse your quest to implement efficiencies with higher levels of commitment from your staff, you will raise the likelihood that people will actually stick to those processes and make them work.
7. Bolster your efforts to create a safe environment by learning to be more assertive: Safety continues to be a top priority for many organizations. Safety-conscious leaders who learn to be more assertive will have the courage to speak up or push back when they need to in order to keep people safe.
You may have noticed that many of these pairs combine some kind of technical expertise with an interpersonal skill. That’s not a coincidence. It frequently is our interpersonal skills that allow our more technical abilities to spring to life. And since January 1st has just past, now might be the perfect time to consider what leadership combinations will help you achieve your 2012 goals.
Providing service is one of the top goals of our library, as it should be, and we need to provide service to our colleagues and fellow employees if the operation of the library is to run smoothly.
Here are some ideas I got from the retreat:
- Listen, ask questions to clarify, provide a prompt response. The response should provide results if at all possible.
- There is a mutual contract between the supervisor and the employee with service being provided by both parties, even is both parties are customers.
- Different departments should have protocols in place and share them so each department can provide appropriate information and service to the other.
- Practice targeted niceness. Be nice to everyone. If there is a problem do what is necessary to correct it without assigning blame.
- Know the line between quick service and best service and keep it balanced.
- Use can statements rather than can’t statements, and mean what you say.
- Documentation is important because it promotes consistency.
I personally thought the retreat was a success. It’s good for faculty and staff from various departments to mingle. None of us should be strangers.