Dont Be That Boss

October 15, 2007 at 9:34 am

Nowadays, I consider myself really lucky because I have an extremely level-headed boss. She might tell you her opinion and will definitely let you know when things need to improve but, in doing so, she never speaks in a way that I’ve construed as offensive. It’s always been direct but not demeaning and I have never left her office feeling like I just got pummeled.I haven’t always been so lucky though, I used to have one of the worst types of bosses imaginable: A Screamer.

On a near daily basis, I would hear my boss yelling at someone in her office. To put that in perspective: the distance from her office to my desk was through one room, then a hallway, up a flight stairs and then behind a solid oak door… a distance over 100 feet. To put this it in further perspective, I have a moderately severe hearing loss. If I could hear the screams just imagine what other employees and patrons actually heard her saying! I left the position almost exclusively because of her and took the first job offer that came my way… Fortunately, it lead me to my current boss.

But some of my friends aren’t so lucky. Just having to listen to the nightmare stories and thinking back on my own experiences I am dumbfounded as to how these people wind up in management positions. What quality did they possess which made the administrators willing to go with such a nasty and ineffective communication skill? And what possibly makes that boss think that their method of management is, if not effective, is constructive or pragmatic in the overall scheme of running business!? Furthermore, how do these screamers possibly think they are actually good bosses!? And yet, it seems that I always have at least one friend who is plagued by such a boss.

So, why is this being put up on our library’s blog? Because we are certainly not immune to such poor managerial practices and maybe some of us are active participants, and I have been offered a promotion to the Head of Youth Services in the Library where I work. As excited as I am, this had led me to really reflect on the poor bosses I’ve had in the past and my own managerial skills.

In hopes of being proactive against the habits of “poor bosses” I have compiled a list of, shall we say, ethical goals I would like to instill upon myself in hopes of becoming a quality supervisor. By all means, please add your own advice.

Do not panic: Even when things are at a panic stage, it is my job to present level-headedness, which leads to the second point…

Do not play into histrionics: Situations should emit their own sense of emotions and do not need my help.

Do be approachable: If staff and I cannot talk openly, then we are already on losing ground.

Do be pragmatic: When problems arise, find ways to ‘fix’ them.

Do be clear with expectations: Make sure that staff knows what is expected of them and their job details.

Do not micromanage or get bogged down in minutiae: nobody likes someone looking over their shoulder and critiquing their work to the very foundation.

Do not personalize: Sometimes, you have to be the bad guy and some times people will goad you… but do not let it sink in.

DO BE POSITIVE: Remember that your leadership will affect how the department runs.

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