Today I attended an InfoPeople workshop called “Moving Into Management“, led by Nancy Bolt, former Colorado State Librarian. She and the other participants validated my feeling that management is inherently stressful, especially for new managers, for at least the first full year. A particularly valuable part of the workshop was the handout of the collected observations of real managers, remembering their own first management positions and offering advice for new managers. The bottom line was that becoming a manager is a career change, regardless of whether you stay in the same industry or not. Unless you treat it as such, you will encounter difficulties with staff and your own achievement.
Another important point our instructor mentioned as recurring in every management book is that it is vital for the new manager to engage in self-reflection, self-analysis, and self-understanding. This theme recurs, because if you don’t understand your own needs and tendencies, it’s impossible to deal with the needs of those you supervise and those who supervise you. It’s also OK to come to the conclusion that management may not be for you.
A third component of the workshop stressed the need for networking, expressing in action the vision of administration for the library, and of making yourself visible by volunteering to lead projects.
Lots to think about, especially in these times of staff and budget shortages. It’s easy to fall into the self-pity trap, but for those with motivation and ambition, for those with a vision of what they want to achieve, there is still room at the top.